Sunday, March 29, 2009

A new member of the family

We have some fun news to share here. Before your jaw hits your keyboard, no it is not me having a baby! Nor a pet (I'm not that crazy!!). Molly and Cameron shared with me that Molly had 2 new babies Thursday morning. She carried them around under her shirt and then gave birth in her bedroom to a baby boy, Luke, and a baby girl, Lea. Molly had the easiest child birth I have ever seen! She hugged her two babies all morning, carried them swaddled in her favorite taggie and loved them. Amazingly her new babies never cried - unlike Luke and Lea's new Mommy! Yikes did Molly have a set of lungs on her! :)

I was a little taken back that my girl already is ready to take on motherhood. I'm so glad it was with a plastic doll and a stuffed Mickey Mouse that came out of the box of Apple Jacks. These are the kind of new babies I can handle!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

New Kid on the Block

Have you ever been in a situation where you really felt like someone who was talking to a group was talking directly to you? This has happened to Mike and I on 2 separate occasions. Last August we were sitting in our church in Michigan, Cherry Hill United Methodist Church, listening to our Pastor, Merlin Pratt, give the sermon. We had been contemplating all morning if we should let the congregation, our second family, know that we would be moving. At first we weren't going to say anything but Pastor Merlin's sermon strongly moved us to share what was going on in our lives. Unfortunately we didn't get to spend a lot of time getting to know Pastor Merlin. He joined Cherry Hill the beginning of August and we moved Labor Day. But, he made an impact on us in a short time. That Sunday his message was about how sometimes in our lives we just have to move on and get past a situation. How we are not alone if we travel through life with God. It felt like Pastor Merlin was talking directly to us. That he knew we were struggling with the right words to share our good fortune, our fears and our concerns. It was a powerful moment for us as a couple.

Fast forward to this past Sunday. We are in our new church, Morton UMC. We have got to know the pastor a bit from his visits to the hospital with Molly and us. He is a very kind man who knows just the right thing to say. His name is Pastor Paul. His message this week was about fitting in to God's circle. I feel like we already knew that we were always welcome into the inner circle with God. The hard circle to sometimes fit in is when you are the new kid on the block. It's hard moving to a new community where you don't know a soul. I've had some blind luck and picked a good pediatrician office, a good preschool and fun ballet studio. But, it can be challenging to find the right "in" on things socially. I know it will help when we move into a neighborhood and a house. I remember feeling this way when we moved into our first house in Sagamore Hills. It took quite a while to feel like we knew our neighbors well enough to do social things with them. And now when I look back I can laugh at that because they are still, to this day, some of our nicest friends who we visit with when we go back to Ohio. I felt like Pastor Paul was saying to me, hang in there. You are already in the inner circle that you are suppose to be, the rest will come in time. I'm just not an exceptionally patient person so waiting it out can be frustrating for me. Although they say that all good things come to those who wait!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sock pile update

Just a quick update on the good old sock pile situation...I can officially verify that my hubby isn't reading my blog because there hasn't been any mention of the too much underware comment. I'm going to keep a running total on how many days until he says something. We are currently at day 3!

We have our fingers crossed here as my almost 12 (in a week!!) year old niece is anxiously awaiting the results of her try outs for the junior high Poms team. We really hope Regan makes it as she really wants to be on the dance squad. I think she's a very good dancer but they didn't ask for any Aunt input. Go figure! The disappointment that could come is enough to break my heart. I dread the day that I have to go through that as a parent and not just an Aunt. I know that it is one of those life lessons but it's still hard. Good luck, Regan!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The sock pile

Let's not beat around the bush. We're friends, right? I can share my frustrations, my annoyances. Oh wait, I'm talking to myself. Well then, I can say whatever I want.

I hate laundry!

This is nothing new, and is nothing my dear husband doesn't already know. When I get on a roll I do great but the motivation is what holds me back. When Michael says to me, "do you think you could do some whites?" I know that it's time to start the washer back up. I should also add (this is a test to see if Mike is really reading this!!) that he doesn't have to ask for whites often because he has a ridiculous amount of underware. Probably more than is really needed, but I didn't say that! I know that my hubby thinks that's there is still hope for me to un-do my wrongs when it comes to laundry but I think the fates are against us.

This afternoon I told myself that I would tackle the dreaded sock pile. I have included evidence #2 that shows my latest sock pile. All those bad boys need matched. But here's the thing. I will have a pile that I swear is just as big of lonely, unmatched socks. See evidence # 1. Where do they go??? I realize that Amanda eats everything she can get her hands on. We don't have any board books that she hasn't chewed the corners off of. I'm surprised there hasn't been an emergency trip to have a Lego extracted and she has an abnormal fascination with the lint from the dryer. But, I can be pretty sure that she's not eating socks. They just disappear out of thin air. It's a waste to buy new socks because it seems like the match is gone within minutes. I do not have control of the sock pile.

We haven't reached the age where kids start changing their clothes multiple times a day. I don't think my kids care enough about what they are wearing. Truth be told, I'd be surprised if Molly even has on pants right now. I heard some minor commotions from the potty so the pants may be off. I'm just afraid that even more control will be lost of the laundry when we have even more dirty clothes because of multiple outfit changes. Maybe the kids won't ever care that much about how they look. Here's hoping!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Yuck has arrived.

It is a beautiful day in Central Illinois. 65 degrees, sunny, WARM and yet we are unable to enjoy Mother Nature at her best because the YUCK came barreling on in to our house this weekend. It was a modest YUCK at first only affecting Mr. Cameron. Fever, chills, sore throat. I briefly thought that we would dodge it. But, NO. This morning Molly informs me that she doesn't feel well and then proceeds to get the bucket and hit it bulls eye. Hello 8 am. She wants to try and eat a little breakfast and wham-o trip # 2 to hitting the bucket. Hello 9 am. I call the doctor's office to see if Cameron's Saturday strep culture amounted into anything and it is negative. Just a decent old virus. Great. Do you think it's safe to Lysol their tongues? I wonder if poison control would know this answer??

I heard from my happy husband who is glad to be at work and not where the YUCK is dwelling. I told him that I was scrubbing our bathroom in case I needed to spend some extra time there myself. Like a girl scout, always be prepared. (Or is that the boy scout motto??) He told me that it is mind over matter and that "you could probably talk yourself into the flu, Pamela." ??? I have no idea what that statement meant. I think I'll call my Mom and ask her.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Blockbuster is a headache.

Like most everyone out there I find my free time valuable. How I spend it is important to me.

There is a bit of an ongoing argument in this house about one thing. It is our Blockbuster at home service. It's just like Netflix, if your familiar with that, but it is done through Blockbuster. You pick out your "queue" and set it up on their handy, dandy webpage and then you receive 3 movies at home at a time. After you watch one you return it, postage paid in an envelope, and they send you the next movie from your list. 5 times a month you can return them to the store and get a store rental for a week plus they send you your next movie in your queue. Sounds too good to be true, right??

Here are my problems with it:

1.) We rarely have time to watch the movies!! I just took a look at the queue today and realized that we had a movie on hand that we had received December 2nd. Obviously we were picking around that movie and never watching it.

2.) It seems like the nearest Blockbuster is a trip away. It use to be in Michigan that the closest Blockbuster was a few miles. The closest one here is in (gasp!) East Peoria. It is a commitment to return the store rentals all the way to East Peoria. It must be at least 7.1 miles (I just mapped it on Mapquest)!! Could it be that the motivation for returning them in Michigan is that there was a Dairy Queen in the same plaza so it was like having a night on the town??

3.) We use to take turns putting the movie at the top of the queue. That has some how ended. Maybe because I don't watch them. But when I got my picks I must say I did choose some good ones. I can highly recommend the first 2 seasons of Big Love. It is an HBO show about polygamists. Very entertaining and well done.

4.) And probably my #1 reason for not liking Blockbuster at home - the movies are really bad!! I was mad last night. Mike really, really wanted to watch a movie. I'm always complaining that he waits too long to start them. I would rather go to bed. I find it hard to justify wasting 2 plus hours on a movie. I could be doing so much more productive things. Reading, updating my status on Facebook, folding laundry, sleeping!! So last night Mike started a movie at a decent time so I decided to hang in there and watch. I waited and waited for it to get good. I waited and waited some more. It never happened!! It was terrible. For once we both thought so. Maybe I need someone to recommend some good flicks for us. I however cannot recommend Made of Honor staring Patrick Dempsey and some chick I didn't know. Horrible. Too predictable and sappy. And, Patrick Dempsey's hair looks terrible throughout most of the movie. Too fluffy or something. Give me some eye candy, please!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

My favorite things part 3...

There are so many great things about 5 year olds how can I narrow it down to just a few?? Oh, what the heck, I'll give it a try!

Things I love about Cameron Michael Shook...

- I love Cameron's name. We thought long and hard over it and I can't imagine his name being anything else. A friend of my parents told us it sounded like a name for the President of the United States. I don't know that I wish that job on anyone but I think Cameron has a name that sounds like he will go places in life.

- I love that Cameron has interests in his toys. Above is a picture of what Cameron told us was his favorite Christmas gift. He loves Star Wars. He loves Star Wars figurines, Star Wars legos, Star Wars action figures, Star Wars Lego Wii game, his one and only Star Wars shirt - I think you get the idea. He loves pretending battles with them and acting them out. He builds space ships with Amanda's clipo and has them flying through the galaxy. I never was much into Star Wars but I can remember going and seeing Star Wars at the Edinboro movie theatre. It was probably 1980. Yikes, am I dating myself!

- I love that Cameron has a sense of humor. His latest "joke" is to tell you with a very serious face that he doesn't like something. Then after a few seconds he laughs and says "I'm just kidding!". I have no idea where he picked this up but I laugh every time.

- I love that Cameron takes crafts and coloring very seriously. We now color in the lines - hip hip! This must be something that happens between 4 and 5 because Molly is still a scribbler. Cameron really cares that things are colored the correct color. His art work is really getting quite nice.

- I love that there isn't probably a more laid back child on the planet then Cameron. Because of this nature that's why there are other Shook children! Not very much phases him. I recently switched his preschool in February and I worried about the change. The teacher said on day one that he acted like he had been there all along. When I asked him he liked his new school he said, "No, I liked my old one." My heart sank. Then I got the classic "Just kidding!"

- I love that I have a boy. We have a very, very girl dominated family. Cameron is the only grandson on both sides. But what I love about him is more than being the only boy. I love that he loves boy things, loves to get dirty, loves to run but I also love that he has a sensitive side to him that he got from being around 2 sisters and 5 girl cousins. He plays with girls just as well as boys. It's just that your Barbie may become Princess Lea and go fly a space ship that may resemble a Barbie car. His imagination is always working!

Thank you for being my first baby, Cameron, and breaking Mommy and Daddy in easy. You are a real joy in our lives!

Monday, March 9, 2009

My favorite things part 2...

Oh golly, my favorite things about my Molly...where do I start?

- I love her laugh. It's a belly laugh and it is contagious. You can't help my laugh when you hear her. She's got a great laugh.

- I love that she is always listening to me even when I don't realize it. During Molly's hospital stay I had one of those Oprah A-ha moments. One of the urologists we were working with was visiting and talking to me about Molly. We were discussing the possibility of trying Molly on an anti-depressant while in the hospital. It had two advantages. It would pick up her spirits and prevent her bladder from having spasms. Molly appeared to be sleeping during this discussion. The doctor was using big words and spelling some others. Kind of talking around the subject. I couldn't understand why she was doing this. She asked me to step out into the hall and explained that Molly was faking sleeping and was listening to us. I was shocked and when I went back into Molly's room she opened her eyes and said that she didn't want to take anymore medicine. From that moment on I was very careful about what we discussed in front of her and have continued to do so at home. It was an eye opening experience.

- I love that Molly calls Cameron her best friend and vice versa. For those of you who know my brother we are only 13 months apart. Cameron and Molly are 16 months apart and very close. Just like Dale and I, they are each other's play mate. Cameron can convince Molly to be Princess Lea and they play Star Wars for hours. They love to color and do puzzles together. It doesn't always happen without an argument but they are getting very good at working it out between themselves.

- I love that Molly thinks her Daddy is the best in the world. There are many times when she will only do things for Daddy, not Mommy. Rather than get my feelings hurt or be disappointed I choose to think that this a special relationship. I think Mike gets a little annoyed after a while that only he can take Molly to the potty on the weekends but it's also good for him to take a turn. I think it will eventually swing back around to Mommy being the favorite but in the mean time I love watching my girl adore her Daddy.

- I love that Molly has dark brown hair. Cameron is so blond and Amanda is in the middle but probably more blond. Molly's is dark and I think a beautiful shade. I love that all 3 kids have different color hair. Dale and I never looked alike growing up so I think it's natural to have your own identity. Now if Molly would just keep a bow in it!!

- I love that Molly was a true love child. (Hope this isn't a TMI moment!) Cameron was a ton of work to get but Molly just appeared out of nowhere. I couldn't believe that I was pregnant! Many, many tests (probably 5 or 6) were taken to make sure. I told my doctor that they would have to show me on an ultrasound to believe it and by golly, there she was. I have a frame that I will one day display that has a cut out for a picture of your family. The caption around it says "all because two people fell in love." That's Molly - because 2 people were in love.

I am so glad you are a part of my life, beautiful Molly!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

My favorite things...

Some days are more difficult that others when you are a domestic goddess, aka, stay-at-home Mom. There have been days when I have wanted to meet Mike at the door only to pass him by and run for the hills. There are days that go by so smoothly that I wonder if all of the planets are in alignment because those are rare days. But, no matter how challenging a day I always try to remind myself of one thing that I love about each of my children on that specific day. There is always at least one thing! Today Amanda turns 21 months. I thought I would share a few of my favorite things about my baby...

- She gives the absolute best hugs hands down. She hugs her Daddy, her Mommy, her Aunt Margaret, Uncle Dale's leg, her cousins, unfortunately from time to time strangers, like the cable guy, like it's the last hug of her life. Tight and around the neck. I love them.

- She says new words every day. Our latest is Elmo. If I say "go get an Elmo" she runs and gets me a diaper, brings it back and lies down on the floor. Bingo! I have her trained. Almost as good as having a dog that would get you the paper or a cold beer.

- She loves her brother and sister. She wants to be doing whatever they are doing. It is not always reciprocated but she still loves them none the less.

- I love that I can give her a snack in a bowl and she will sit down and hold it and do her best at not spilling it. She loves that I will let her try to have more than one goldfish, pretzel, non-chokeable food item. It brings out the big girl in her.

- I love that she is still little. I see her little sponge taking in so much knowledge and learning so much but I'm not quite ready to set that all loose. She is a work in progress!

I'm really looking forward to Amanda turning 2 because I feel so silly still talking in months when I can almost round up. But, I don't mind keeping her little for a while longer!

Happy 21 month birthday, baby girl! Mommy loves you!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another phase in life...

I cannot believe that this morning I had to register my first born for kindergarten. Where has the time gone! I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. I'm very excited for him to go to school and learn more and make friends and officially be a big boy. But I know that once Cameron starts school Molly is right behind him and then the slippery slope has begun. Busy with homework, busy with activities, busy with big kid life. We received a handbook which I haven't read yet. I'm sure it has all the normal rules. I'm sure I won't be surprised at any of the information. The schools here are very well run and have practical ideas. The handbook I didn't receive is the one for the first time school parents. Shouldn't we have some rules established? I think I have some suggestions for the book.

1.) Be prepared for heartache ahead. Your child's feelings will be hurt at least once a year. This is a guarantee. There is little you can do to prevent it.

2.) Don't be surprised when the kiss good-bye turns into a quick wave or a quick mumbled "bye." Happens to the best of them.

3.) Help instill self-confidence in your child. Kindergarten is a time to learn and explore. What were wearing isn't as important as nurturing a confidence in their own abilities.

4.) Learning starts at home. Take time to read with your child. The laundry will still be there but the opportunity to have time with your child will quickly go by. Is anyone really looking at your laundry room any way?

5.) Don't be scared of the unknown with school. Children feed off of your anxieties and will be scared if that's what you show them. Be a confident parent.

6.) Let you child experience new things. Scissors, glue, glitter, paint - kindergarten is a time to experiment. Don't be worried about the mess that they make at school. Half the learning process will be the clean up!

I'm sure there are many more "rules" I could think of but this will be a good start for myself. My baby is getting older. The part that I hate the most about that is that I am getting older, too! But, I still remember my first day of kindergarten! Great memories. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What Cameron thinks of me...

I received this from a friend on my Facebook page and thought it was worth sharing. Apparently we spend a lot of time here talking about picking up toys. My little people are all talk and no action!

**Footnote** No comments from the peanut gallery, aka, Michael Shook!

According to Cameron (age 5)

1. What is something mom always says to you? No!

2. What makes mom happy? when I clean up

3. What makes mom sad? when I say I can’t do something

4. How does your mom make you laugh?when she's on the phone

5. What was your mom like as a child? a big girl

6. How old is your mom? 20

7. How tall is your mom? 20 feet

8. What is her favorite thing to do? play on the computer

9. What does your mom do when you're not around? play the Wii

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? picking up toys

11. What is your mom really good at? the computer

12. What is your mom not very good at? the Wii

13. What does your mom do for her job? pick up toys

14. What is your mom's favorite food? chicken

15. What makes you proud of your mom? picking up toys

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? Scooby-Doo

17. What do you and your mom do together? Play the Wii

18. How are you and your mom the same? We’re not, Daddy and Cameron are the same

19. How are you and your mom different? Mommy has long hair and I have short hair

20. How do you know your mom loves you? Because you love me for picking up toys

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? Chuck E. Cheese

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I'm thankful for...

I had a boss many moons ago who once shared that every evening he and his wife had to tell one good thing that happened to them that day. Even on a really crappy day he still found one good thing that occurred.

We have tried to incorporate something similar to our meal time with the kids. When we pray before dinner we each have to share one thing that we are thankful for. Oh, the answers! I wish you could all be a fly on the wall. Cameron has gotten more thoughtful lately but there were many a night that we were thankful for Star Wars Wii or Indiana Jones Wii. We went for the whole month of January that Molly was thankful for Christmas. Amanda just smiles and laughs. Mike and I have a lot to be thankful for and we feel very blessed. Right now we are thankful for his job and Molly's health. Our girl is getting stronger every day and more feisty which is a definite sign that she is better! We're off to the urologist this morning and hope that it's just a routine visit.

My wish for you is that every day you find one thing that you are thankful for! God's blessings make us so rich!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I am nervous...

This is a first for me. It's like telling someone your expecting. Exciting, kind of akward, a little self-centered. You want everyone to be "into" it but what if they think this is silly. I have really wanted to have my own blog for a while. Over the last few weeks I wished I had taken the time to do so. It would have helped me through a trying time. A place to put my thoughts, a place to express my fears and frustrations, a place to feel connected to the real world. I'm not a scrapbooker, I'm not crafty. I'm hoping this is a place where I can create memories for my family. I'm hoping this is a place where I can share our lives. Pictures aren't something that I have ever been very attached to. I can't share them with my Mom so I've never seen the true importance of them. I'm hoping through my words I can help paint a picture for her, and you, of our life. It will be one heck of a journey!