Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Yea! We are back home after our stay at the Children's Hospital of Illinois. I can't remember what I wrote before (it's like a blur) but Molly ended up needing ureter stents put back in yesterday. The initial problem that we got admitted for was the possibility of her having diabetes insipidus which is either a kidney problem or a pituitary problem. If you really want to be freaked out google it and read. I am so glad that wasn't the problem. Molly had a partial blockage of her ureters which was causing back pressure on her kidneys. This back pressure was enough to throw the kidney's for a loop and cause her to excessive drink and urinate. The stents give relief on the pressure and allow the kidneys, which have a little scaring, to heal. We're not sure what step 2 is yet but we will let the doctor's work it out in time. We are so thankful for smart, caring, and compassionate doctors, nurses and staff at the Children's Hospital of Illinois. They helped us through a potentially scary and confusing time. And they always kept our daughter's needs first which is very, very important to Mike and I. We are so glad to be home! The attached picture is just before we went home. We only want to post HAPPY pictures!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The waiting game

They just called from the operating room (our nice nurse Carolyn) that they have started the cystoscopy and bi-lateral placement of new stents. This is the best thing that they can do for Molly to protect the health of her kidney's. It should be a relatively quick process except if you are the parent waiting. We'll update soon if we can.

On a great note I am so happy to share that our friends Tracy and Pat Samanich welcomed baby girl Caroline this morning. We can't wait to see pictures! Welcome to the world, Caroline!

Monday, April 27, 2009


Just wanted to do a quick update on Miss M. We have been in the Children's Hospital of Illinois since Saturday evening. Molly's urine isn't concentrating as it should be. It is more water than urine. They have determined that it is a kidney problem maybe related to the surgery that she had in January. We will see a nephrologist today. We'll keep updating as me know more info. Please say a prayer for our girl! :)

Friday, April 24, 2009

Calgon take me away...

I'm in a bad mood and anxious mood all wrapped up together. This has been a busy week and the effects are starting to get to me.

First off my Dad is in the hospital back in Akron. He is passing some blood and (yet again) they need to determine from where. It's frustrating to be so far away but there isn't anything I can do about it at this moment. I just have to wait and see. I am not a patient person. Any ideas where I may have gotten that? Bonus points for the person's full name!

Secondly, we have been given the o.k. to look at houses and I'm very anxious about it. I have been wanting to get settled for quite a while but now that it is actually time I'm nervous. I want everything to be perfect but already know that it won't be.

Thirdly, Amanda is pretty much hating the cast. Last night was a repeat of the first night and again I ended up sleeping with her on the floor. My mood is only enhanced by the fact that I'm really tired. It's Daddy's turn tonight if there's any crying. Unfortunately, he's tired, too. Luckily A is sleeping but I was worried that nap time would be a battle. The houses behind us decided today was the day to have trees trimmed and all I hear are chain saws. Don't they know this is nap time??!!

I need to quit feeling sorry for myself. The sun is shining and it's actually hot here. The temperature in my car was in the 80's. Today was kindergarten round up and Cameron sailed through that with flying colors. I think he's going to love school. Only time will tell!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Supercondylar what??

After a trip to the Midwest Orthopedic Associates in Peoria it has been determined that Miss A has a supercondylar fracture. It is a fracture above the elbow. With an untrained eye it probably would have been missed. There is a pocket of fluid and blood around the elbow that the doctor showed us - imagine two adults just standing there nodding their heads. I really have no idea what we were looking at on the x-ray! Those kind of pockets are indicative of a fracture. It was truly one of the coolest things I have seen. The x-rays at this place magically appear on computer screens right in the exam room and the doctor could enlarge them and move them around to get the best angle. Very cool. Luckily for us since A is still so young we only have to wear the cast for two weeks and then they will re-evaluate her elbow with new x-rays. The x-rays were the most fun part of the whole experience - NOT! Of course the x-rays that were taken on Sunday couldn't be used and a new set had to be done yesterday. I believe the doctor's exact words were, "those x-rays are terrible and incomplete." Sure, go ahead, take more and bill them to our insurance. Super. Mike told me that while I was with A taking new x-rays that Molly asked him why a baby was crying. Mike told her that the baby was probably upset. Then Mike realized he recognized the cries. Yes, it was Amanda!

Amanda didn't seem to mind the cast being put on, was a real trooper and didn't cry. Until last night. After about 2 hours of peaceful sleeping A must has realized that the cast was annoying. Our euphoria was over. She couldn't get comfortable, was mad about the whole thing and just genuinely upset. I tried everything and finally she just collapsed on a bunch of pillows of the living room floor. I'm not sure I'll be able to move my left hip this afternoon from sleeping on the floor but we finally did some rest. How many hours until nap time??

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Look Mom, one hand!

I have one talented girl! So talented, with one hand, that three times last night she took off the splint. The first time she just handed it to me and walked away. After I got my chin off the floor from my shock I chased her down I put it back on. I called the doctor's office and the recommended using duct tape to keep it on. What the heck??!! I did not go with their recommendation!

Our friend Tim finished the Boston Marathon in 3:24:28 which means his mile pace time was about 7:47. Seven minutes and 47 seconds! For 26.2 miles - amazing! Great job, Tim! Hope you had the time of your life!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A little break in the action...

It's never dull here. Last night Miss Amanda took a spill off of one of our dining room chairs and landed funny on her side/elbow/shoulder. Right away the look on her face told me something was wrong. Then she was very clingy to me. That is not normal. When she gets hurt she's like me - don't comfort me, don't touch me, leave me alone. She just cried and cried. I tried to get her to eat her dinner and she wouldn't. Then I noticed that she wasn't moving her right arm at all. Panic started to creep in. Mike tried to get her to reach out and she wouldn't move it. She just cried and cried. After a bit of discussion we loaded everyone up and headed to St. Francis Hospital. After my experience with Molly this is one place I was really trying to avoid. They weren't too busy so we didn't wait long. The resident, who might have been at least 12, didn't like the way she reacted when he touched above her elbow. He ordered x-rays and they did them bedside as they were already doing some in the room next to ours. Mike put on the lead apron and helped hold her arm in certain positions. Amanda did not like this. After those were read the attending came in and asked for more x-rays. This time I had to take her down the hall. Again, Amanda didn't like the positions they wanted her arm to be in. In a nutshell, they didn't see anything so they tried for what they thought might be a "nurse maid elbow." This is usually in kids who hyper extend the elbow. It happens when parents swing their kids by the hands or jerk the arm if the child tries to pull away from them. They tried to manipulate the arm back but it didn't pop like it should if you have this injury. They didn't want to hurt her so we now have to go tomorrow to an orthopedic specialist. They called from the emergency room a little while ago and said that the radiologist who looked at the films this morning thinks he seems something above her elbow. The specialist will be able to confirm that tomorrow.

This is such an embarrassing post to put on my blog. I am usually so on top of danger lurking. I see it all the time in other people's kids. Mike and I were only feet away from her. We just didn't react quickly enough. It happened in the blink of an eye. I really do think, for the most part, we do a pretty good job. I suppose that is why they are called accidents.

Boston Marathon Update...

Tim is running at a 7 minute, 34 second mile pace. That sounds great to me! At the 30 km mark he had been running for 2 hours and 22 minutes.

Keep up the good work, Tim!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Run, Tim, Run

I wish I would have had more time to spend on this post but Amanda had a little home injury that has required a trip to the e.r....more about that later. Tomorrow our very good friend, Tim from Michigan, competes in his first Boston Marathon. We are very excited for him and we will get updates, via email, at certain spots of the race. Tim is a crazy runner who loves to do ultra marathons - 100 milers. We joke with him that we don't even want to drive 100 miles! Tim has more energy that just about anyone I know. We use to tease with him that we would invite him over if we had an excess of soda around so he would drink it. He loves his Mountain Dew and anything with caffeine. A great gift for him is Speedway gift cards so he can get his fill of fountain soda! In all seriousness, Tim is a great husband, father and friend and we are so happy for him that he gets to compete tomorrow in Boston!

Good luck, Tim! We wish you well and Run Fast!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Rabbit, Airplane, Helicopter

The state of Illinois now requires all students entering kindergarten to have an eye exam prior to starting school. Since we have a kindergartner in the fall I took Cameron today for his first eye exam. Instead of the letter eye chart it was pictures of common objects. Cameron did an awesome job and doesn't have to go back for a year. I was afraid the odds were against him since I started wearing glasses in the second grade but he doesn't need any vision correction at this time. He has a slight astigmatism (an imperfect eye curvature) but he may out grow it. It was a strange experience for me as I remember doing my first eye exam when I was probably 7 or 8. A full circle moment. I have a feeling there will be many of these in my future.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Things I Miss

Today was an absolute beautiful day here. It made me miss some things about Michigan. I can't believe I just typed that! There were some great benefits to living there. There are some great benefits to living in Central Illinois, too. Here are a few things I miss...

- I miss the great parks we had in Michigan. We had some terrific play structures in really nice parks. I am not finding that here. Nice parks but older play structures.

- I miss Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. Today would have been a perfect day to go to Greenfield Village. It is an old fashioned village that replicates the time when cars were first manufactured. The Village and the museum were created by Henry Ford. If you are looking for a get away I highly recommend this as a tourist visit. We had a membership and went quite often. The carousel alone is worth the trip! The attached picture is on the carousel and yes, I am very pregnant with Amanda in it.

- I miss my friends in MI Heidi and Tamsen. They were my partners in crime. We all originally were neighbors and now none of us live there anymore but I still miss them. I have kept in contact with Heidi but not so much Tamsen. I need to find her number and give her a call. We could all talk for hours!

- I miss my MOMS Club friends. I loved that on any given day there would most likely be an event planned and you could choose to go or pass. We used the Evite system and you could check to see if anyone was going. On a day like today someone would have planned a park visit and we would have had a great time. I wish there was something like the MOMS Club here. I haven't found anything like it. It was a great group of women!

- I miss our second family at Cherry Hill UMC. There were a handful of retired women who became our away from home Grandma's. They were available to me in a pinch and would come over and baby-sit or ride along to an appointment to help me keep the kids occupied. They were a lifesaver and I miss that. They were wonderful women and I learned a lot from them.

- I miss being able to show people where you live on the palm of your hand. Michigan is shaped like a mitten and it is common to point to your town on your palm. If you don't know what I mean ask me to show you sometime. It is one of the most clever things I have ever seen. I'm easily entertained!

Michigan isn't all bad!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peaceful Slumbers

Look at this face - precious! I had to share it because when I went to wake Amanda up from her nap today I saw her snoozing away and I thought - that's exactly how her father looks when he is sleeping. This is the mouth of a Shook sleeping through and through. If I can sneak the chance I'll get her father in action but in the mean time, trust me. She is a Shook! No nose breathing for that clan!

100 hits!

I have 100 hits on my blog, I have 100 hits on my blog!! If you are one of the 100 hits I am saying THANK YOU!! Now if I could just get Michael R. Shook to be one of the 100 hits I'd be in business. Actually I know he reads from time to time because he let me know his work is off limits on my blog! I'm sure he'll find other subjects he won't want shared with the world. So he was reading...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Amazing hard boiled egg chocolate chip cookies

This came up in a discussion of FB yesterday...what to do with the hard boiled eggs we all have. I found this recipe and thought I would share it. I hope to try it soon. My eggs will get stinky in the fridge after a few more days!

I found this recipe at (I hope it's OK to share! If you don't hear from me I'm in jail for plagiarism!)

Today I made one change which in my opinion, resulted in a better cookie. Rita, who tried this previously, assured me it would work. The change is to use only hard boiled eggs. The previous version used 1/4 of a hard boiled egg and 1 tablespoon of raw egg. This version uses 1/2 of a hard boiled egg. Interestingly enough, no extra liquid is needed to bind the dough. As Rita put it, the butter does it all by itself….or at least European style butter does! Rita and I both used European style butter, but I suspect regular American butter would still hold together.
Also, I used Ghirardelli’s bittersweet chips in this batch. They worked really well because like the cookies, they’re big and fat! Big fat cookies need big fat chips.

Amazing Hard Boiled Egg Chocolate Chip Cookies! (Small Batch)

3.1 oz all purpose bleached flour (2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour)2 ounces cold unsalted butter (4 tablespoons) – European style, if you have it!

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 of a hard boiled egg

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Small handful of chocolate chips

Combine flour and butter in food processor. Pulse until mixture is mealy and coarse. Add the salt and baking soda and pulse to mix. Add both sugars and hard boiled egg. Pulse again until mixture is mealy looking. Add in the vanilla and pulse until mixture just begins to come together.
Dump mixture into a bowl, add chocolate chips and shape into two balls. You will see egg whites in dough – they’ll disappear as the cookies bake.
Bake on a parchment lined cookie sheet at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until cookies appear lightly browned around edges. Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to rack to finish cooling.
Important: Let cool completely before serving. The texture gets better as the cookies cool. It’s even better if you cool the cookies, freeze them, then thaw them.
Makes 2 big cookies

Monday, April 13, 2009

A good weekend...

What a great weekend we had! I love times like that where we have fun with little effort. I have shared a few pictures from our fun time.

We had a blast in Chicago which was topped off by seeing Tom Izzo, head men's basketball coach at Michigan State, walking down Michigan Avenue. So cool and he was very nice! It is actually our second Tom Izzo sighting. We saw him in May 2006 at Greenfield Village which is part of the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.

We are headed back to Chicago in May and I'm already looking forward to it! Now I just have to find great room rates to make it worth our while.

We had a fun Easter which started by going to church at 8 am. We may have gotten to church at 8:01 but the effort was there! The church looked beautiful and the service was great. During the Sunday School hour they had an egg hunt for the kids. There were 1,700 eggs to hide. The church did an amazing job! We then went to brunch with my brother and his family and had a yummy time. The afternoon was kind of lazy with golf watching. I was bummed that Kenny Perry wasn't able to pull off his first win at a major. I really hope someday Mike and I can make the trip to watch The Master's. We love to watch golf and it is a blast in person. It makes me miss our August weekend's watching the NEC at Firestone. My cousin Jessica and her husband Dave, who live outside St. Louis, drove over in the afternoon and hung out with us. They spent the night and Cameron was ecstatic that Dave was a willing participant on playing the Wii.

All in all it was a fun Easter weekend. As much as we love the bunny it is the love of Jesus in our hearts that makes Easter so special. What an amazing thing he did for all of us in giving his life for our sins. We are so blessed!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


1. The act of withdrawing or going back.
2. An extended decline in general business activity, typically two consecutive quarters of falling real gross national product.
3. The withdrawal in a line or file of participants in a ceremony, especially clerics and choir members after a church service.

There has been all this talk for quite a while how our nation is in the midst of a recession. Based on the definition above I'd say we are definitely in an extended decline in general business activity, typically two consecutive quarters of falling real gross national product.

It's had me thinking about how this is affecting me. We are lucky because it appears that Mike's job is safe from any layoffs. They had an assignment at Cat, through his entire division, to try and problem solve ways for costs to be cut. One of the things they now do is have a centralized trash bin that they must all empty their waste baskets into at the end of the day. They also eliminated all plants from the offices. Cat rented the plants and then a company came and maintained them. All plants are now gone. This cost cutting measure alone has saved the division money every month. But it is these simple cuts that make me the most sad. It isn't that I mind that the prettiness of the plants is gone. I truly never noticed the plants when I was in the working world. What makes me frustrated is that someone brain stormed the idea that they could run a small business, service a large customer like Cat, and earn a living doing so. In my mind I imagine that this business owner is someone who has a family, thought of a job that they could do while their kids were at school, and still allowed them to be home when their kids got off the bus. I see this as a job that one day I might like to do. A job that services but also allows for some flexibility. With tough cuts happening every day it's jobs like this that are constantly being eliminated. The small business owner won't be able to survive.

I just learned today that there are 3 consumable goods that never face a recession. Alcohol, tobacco and Make Up. In this day and age the plant lady won't survive. This recession has a trickle down effect and it truly touches everyone. The media focuses on the large companies where the recession has hit hard but we need to remember the little business owners, too.

Monday, April 6, 2009

A conversation...

Today when I picked Cameron up from school his teacher let me know that he was one of several boys who had difficulty with their hands today. Translation = he hit. Another boy hit Cameron and Cameron hit him back. Both boys, and the other's who were hitting all had time outs. The teacher spoke to all of the Mom's about the issues. After picking him up from school I decided to head to the gym. They have a nice child care room and the kids don't mind hanging out while I work out. When we arrived at the gym I realized that one of the boys from Cameron's class was already there. The first thing Josh (named changed to protect the innocent -ha!) said was, "I saw you hit ______ at school today." Cameron just kind of ignored him and I went up to Josh and said, "Mrs. T took care of it at school and spoke to me about it. I'm Cameron's Mom and we'll handle this at home." Josh seemed to accept that as an answer and asked Cameron to play.

Wouldn't that be an ideal solution. If we could all just learn to get along. Well, here's what really happened...

Josh did say to Cameron I saw you hit _______ at school today and Cameron did ignore him. But, I did not tell Josh that Cameron's parents would take care of it. I didn't say anything and for the ENTIRE 40 minutes I was walking I was stewing over it. I was so mad at myself for not saying anything to Josh. I kept thinking that I am 99% sure that Josh had a issue with hands today and how come Cameron didn't bring that up to him back. When I asked Cameron about Josh hitting today he didn't know anything about it. So much for Mr. Observant! I burned off some good calories getting worked up about me not handling the situation. I cut short my walking because I had the fear that Josh was still giving Cameron a hard time about what happened at school. I went back into the child care room and was surprised. There was Josh and Cameron sitting next to each other watching a movie. I don't think this makes them fast friends but at least the issue wasn't being discussed like a world summit like I envisioned. That's the thing about kids - they let things go so much easier than adults. Maybe I did learn something after all. But, I still wish I would have said something to Josh! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The pirate...

We have sailed a new day here...Cameron went to his first birthday party where Mom didn't stay. He was invited to a birthday party of Max, a new friend from preschool. I met his Mom at an open house last week and asked the details of the party. It was a few friends, all the boys from school, at their house for cake and fun. Max's Mom was very nice, seemed very normal and said I could stay if Cameron would be more comfortable. I decided to feel out the situation when we got there. Within 30 seconds Cameron told me it was time for me to go. I met Max's Dad, also very nice, and went on my way. It was actually a nice break as I did a little Easter shopping by myself without little eyes checking out all the purchases. When I picked Cameron up 2 hours later he was dressed like he looks above. He had a great time, had won the sword as a prize for placing the eye patch closest to the eye on the pirate, and had a goody bag of candy treats. It was a success! I realized as we drove home that we have really crossed in to a major life changing moment - my boy is growing up! It's so strange because I feel a swelling of pride when Cameron crosses these thresholds of life but so sad when Amanda does them. I guess that's the difference between your first and your last.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let me count the ways...

Today is a very special day in my world. Today Michael and I celebrate 11 years of marriage! It is hard to believe that 11 short years ago we celebrated our wedding with our family and friends. I wish I had my wedding pictures with me so I could scan one in and post. The only ones I have are from our wedding album and they are not removable. We have had many ups and some downs and I thought since I shared my favorite things about my children I should do the same about my wonderful husband.

- I love that Michael loves my family. He is so kind to all of them and they love him back. He may occasionally think that they are a little crazy but that is what makes them normal! He also is very close with his own family and cares about them a lot. I love his family like they were my own.

- I love that I have seen my husband cry when I cry. It has only happened on a handful of times but he is a man with feelings and emotions and we can relate to each other. When I hurt, he hurts.

- Watching him with our children warms my heart. They say that when you have children it's like watching a piece of your heart walk around outside your body. I see this in Mike and our kiddos. He loves them unconditionally and is such a softie with them. Mike is a terrific Dad - the absolute best.

- I love that we can laugh together and we can laugh at each other. We are totally ourselves with each other and I think when I saw this trait I realized that this was the man I was meant to spend the rest of my life with. It's good to laugh a lot.

- I love that Mike always wears a belt. This may seem like a silly thing to love about someone but it showed me that he has attention to detail and cares how he is perceived. He is a very neat dresser and often looks better than me. He gets more and more handsome every year!

- I love that Michael has always wanted us to go to church. We both grew up doing so but it could be very easy to not continue in the church. After a long week at work sleeping in on Sunday's could be appealing. But going to church is what we do. We both have a strong belief in God and believe that God is the ultimate provider. We are sharing this with our children and helping them to develop as Christians. It's so cool to hear them tell you things they are learning in Sunday school.

There are so many things to love about my husband. I am so glad that we have spent the last 11 years together as husband and wife. I look forward to continuing to raise our children together and grow old together. There isn't anyone in the world I would rather spend time with. I miss him when he's away. I love you!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A shower of cards

Thank you to everyone who sent my Dad an 80th birthday card. He was so surprised, loved hearing from so many people and had so much fun reading all of them. As of yesterday he had received 151 cards!! It's amazing how many people took the time to send him one in the mail. It meant so much to him and me. We have amazing family and friends in our lives!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Successful Stent Removal!!

My big girl is a trooper!

Our favorite central Illinois doctor in the whole wide world, Dr. Benjamin Rhee, successfully removed Molly's stents and didn't have to replace them. He didn't even take the x-rays we thought he would because everything looked really good. Molly had to have an i.v. for the antibiotics and fluids but she only had gas for the sleeping part. She was only gone from us for about 45 minutes. The longest part of the whole day was waiting, and waiting, and some more waiting for her to pee so we could leave. Dr. Rhee had used a topical numbing cream down there so he told us it would burn the first time she peed. She did pretty well it just took 2 Popsicles, 2 apple juices and i.v. fluids to make it happen!

The whole experience was very pleasant. This hospital does a wonderful job of making children comfortable. The first step in doing so was they had us come to an outpatient surgery center rather than the hospital. It was kind of like a mini hotel. Very nice, very new, very clean! When we went back to the room for Molly to be gowned they had a bunny and a small Easter basket of toys waiting. She was thrilled! The hospital has a group called child life specialists and they go above and beyond. Molly was able to watch Cinderella in recovery and then back in her room. They have portable DVD players and they can go everywhere. It is wonderful and I hope that all hospitals start seeing the importance of making children comfortable and not scared. As you can see from the picture Princess Molly went in a chariot to the operating room. It was adorable!

All in all it was a good day. I am really tired but very happy with the outcome. So is our girl!

Thank you for all the prayers, good thoughts and emails. They mean the world to me!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A big day here tomorrow!

Tomorrow, April 2nd, is officially known as Stent Removal Day here!!

Molly will go in for an outpatient procedure and have the stents removed from her ureters. She will have to be put asleep, they will use a telescope to find them, remove them and then take some x-rays and ultrasound. If necessary they will replace the stents. We are hoping that they can come out and we will be able to put this experience behind us. My big/little girl has been a trooper throughout this whole ordeal. I won't say there weren't some tears shed but she was resilient and strong. I hope that I would have been half as strong if it were me.

If I feel brave about it I will take my camera with me tomorrow morning and snap a few pictures of the moment. After all, that is what a true blogging Mommy would do!

On a side note, thank you so much to all who sent birthday cards to my Dad for his 80th birthday. He is going to count them today and I'll post an update. A friend of ours decorated a small file box for him to store them in and the amount of cards exceeds the size of the box. I know one day when I had called he had just got the mail and have received 12 cards that day. My guess is that he got more than 80!! My parents really enjoyed all the mail and nice sentiments.

An update on my test to see if my hubby was reading my blog. On Sunday Michael was helping me match the dreaded sock pile. He is plugging along as I'm folding clothes on our bed and he says, "You know, if you are going to talk about my underwear on your blog you really should make sure you spell it correctly." Apparently I spelled it underw-a-r-e. I guess he's been reading it! :)