Friday, May 28, 2010

The start of summer fun...

We spent today and last night in Chicago, one of our favorite places to visit. The kids absolutely love downtown and so do Mike and I. We had a really great time but I imagine if you were a fly on the wall (or a fly stuck in our mini van) it might look something like this...

Mom takes boy and 2 girls to the pediatrician to get a-ok to travel to the windy city. Boy had high fever through the night and is complaining of his throat hurting. Kind doctor says bad news is adno-virus and the good news is to get on the road!

After checking into super cool hotel it takes an hour and a half to travel 20 miles. Husband/father is anxious and constantly reminding Mom/wife to watch not only the car in front of us but several ahead...when they break, we break.

Dad/husband takes one 5 year old girl under his arm and races to CAT tent to get his t-shirt and race number. Mom/wife takes 6 and 2 year old into strange parking garage and now has to find Dad/husband amongst 20,000 random racers. No problem, right? Mother corralled her kiddos for the 30 minutes it took father/husband to run the 3 1/2 miles and considered it a success that no one threw up in front of them this year.

6 year old wakes up in the am not feeling so great and yaks up the Tylenol that his mother lovingly gives him. Then loving Mother feeds son breakfast at a McDonald's and son yaks that up in to a bag at the table. But, then 6 year old bursts into tears with thoughts of heading south to beloved home and the guilt alone causes parents to load the car and head to Michigan Avenue. Potty break before heading out where 5 year old pees on the back of pants (my girl doesn't have good aim) so loving mother heads to car in search of spare pants. Found and replaced.

6 year old is better but doesn't want to walk so he and his 5 year old sister share a stroller with minimal complaining. The loving parents push kids to the American Girl store and watch in awe as 2 girls eyes are as big as saucers. On the way we stopped along the sidewalk to put 3 coats on and then went 2 blocks and removed 2 of those coats...not as cold as 2 children originally thought...

Family heads to John Hancock building to peruse Northface store but one 5 year old has to go potty. Family of 5 takes 2 strollers, American girl purchases and 3 kids down an elevator the size of telephone booth to find potties. We all go and are back on our merry way back to Northface store. After 5 minutes one 5 year old has to go potty again. Repeat last step.

Family then goes in search of lunch. Lunch found at yummy Girodona's but only after we unload 2 strollers and collapse them. 3 sippy cups, one backpack, 4 jackets, 2 shopping bags all unloaded from strollers. Full tummy's and happy family. Another bathroom break before heading out.

Entered Shops of North Bridge in search of heaven on earth...Lego Store...but first changed diaper of 2 year old. Done. Moved on to Lego Store and enter paradise. One 5 year old has to go potty. Back to Nordstrom's in search of Ladies Lounge. Return to paradise. One 6 year old has to go potty. Dad's job...not sure where this happened, could have been into a trash can for all I know...back to paradise. Searched, and searched, and contemplated purchases. And looked some more. Lot of time in paradise...

I think you get the drift...lots of bathroom breaks and lots of coats on and off. We still had a blast and our boy was a trooper and hung in there. He didn't want to miss paradise for ANYTHING!!! As 6 year old is yaking into a McDonald's bag inconspicuously a man stops me to remind me to enjoy these days, they go by so fast he says. I hear this all the time and I'm sure its true it just doesn't always feel like I'm going to miss them. These days are often exhausting!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

School's out for summer!!...

I can't get the Alice Cooper song out of my head!!

Today was the kids last day of school...sigh. I think I'm ready for a different routine but I'm also not quite ready on things to do to keep them busy. In a few weeks our park district activities will start and that will take up some time each day. Swim lesson, t-ball, soccer, teddy bears camp, oh my!

Today was Laugh Olympics at the kids school. I helped at the kindergarten station and it was sidewalk chalk. To be honest with you the kids don't like it. BORING! 20 minutes of chalk time is more than enough! Here are a few pics from the fun day!

Check out these cute bug shirts that Molly's class made. The whole class wore them today!

Can you read the fine print?? That's boy is going to FIRST GRADE!! Yahoo!

It was a great year!

This past Sunday we went to watch my niece's, Regan and Cailin, in their dance recital. Here are the 2 girls together. They are getting so old...which just makes me older, too...

Awesome job you two!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Michael Robert...

Well, well, well...look who has a birthday today! I had a friend call and offer all kinds of prank gifts for Mike today but I had to remind her that paybacks are a you know what so I will be kind to the love of my life.

Michael, you are a wonderful husband and father and I know something or someone other than luck brought us together. You are the calm to my busy days, you are the sensible one when I say I have a "great idea", and you just love me the way that I am! Your children absolutely adore you, too.

Don't let life pass you by! Keep on taking interest in running and enjoy yourself. You have aged like a fine wine, baby!

And don't let any kids pass you in anymore races!!

Happy 40th, Mr. Shook!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Molly Jessica...

Can you believe it?? My first girl is 5 today!!!

From this...

to this...

Molly, you are a total joy in my life and I can't imagine not spending every day with you right now. You have spread your wings and become an independent, confident and kind girl. Always remember that it isn't important to be known as the smartest girl but to be known as the NICEST girl. That will get you much, much farther in life. Happy birthday #5!!! I share your excitement with you! Always...

And remember when days get hard you always have your number one partners in crime to watch your back...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tasty Tuesday's...

Believe it or not I have been requested to share a recipe. Even if the person didn't really want it I am very happy to share this recipe. It's a favorite of mine that my Mom makes and my Mom would be happy that someone else enjoyed it. I am not an exact girl when it comes to recipes so I will sound slightly like Rachel Ray on my measurements. Make the recipes work for the amount of people you are trying to serve, especially the amount of beef you use. My small people eat a bite or 2 of the meat so we don't need as much as a bigger family. I know Pinky can adapt for a larger crowd than I have!

Beef Tips and Noodles

I use 1 - 1 1/2 lbs of stew meat but you can use a roast and cut it into cubes.
1 can cream of mushroom soup - (use 2 cans if you use 2 lbs or more of meat)
1 can of water from the soup can (use 2 cans of water if you use 2 cans of soup)
1/2 of one onion or more based on your taste - I sometimes cheat and use frozen chopped onions.
dash of salt
dash of pepper
Maybe a tablespoon of beef bouillon granules

Stir all together and bake for 3 hours (use your lid) at 350 degrees. My Mom cooks hers in a heavy cast iron 2 quart dish but I use a Pyrex 2 quart dish.
Stir occasionally so it doesn't stick to the sides of your dish.

I cook egg noodles and then mix the noodles and the beef tips together and serve.

I use low sodium or fat free cream of mushroom soup to keep the fat down.
Like I said I use stew meat but my Mom never does and have her roast cut by the butcher.
This recipe works awesome at potlucks and my Mom takes if frequently to them. Always a hit! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The next step...

This week has been full of things that are taking "The next step."

"The next step" is the slogan for our new fundraiser to bring down some financial debt at our church. About 21 months ago our church moved from its original location to a new church about 2 miles away. Our church now has to start paying on the loan they took out to build the new church. The amount can seem overwhelming at times but I have been impressed with the enthusiasm and the responsibility that the church leadership has taken to pay down this debt. We are already outgrowing our new building and there is a second phase to build education classrooms but we can't do that until we take care of our current financial debt. Today was the day that we pledge our giving for the new 3 years on this campaign. The church asked children to submit a picture that showed what they loved about the church and their picture would be considered for a bulletin cover. Cameron drew a picture of the church and his Sunday School class. It is very 6-ish looking but I allowed him total artistic expression on it and he did a great job! I just let him know that I was pretty sure that Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker do not attend our church...

Also this week Cameron had his Kindergarten program for the end of the year. It was soooo cute! Here are some pics of the big event!

Every child in the class had a line to memorize and Cameron did an awesome job speaking into the microphone. He talked loud and slow, just like we practiced. It is so hard to imagine that we only have 7 more days of kindergarten. First grade is breathing down my neck! My boy is much more ready that I am!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

All the kindergarten things...

Believe it or not it is time to get Molly ready for kindergarten which will start in the fall. The state of Illinois requires an eye exam, a dentist exam and kindergarten shots to start in August. This past week we did Molly's first eye exam. I wish I had a picture to post from it but she wanted to do the whole exam by herself so I enjoyed a few minutes quietly reading a People magazine. By the way, Bret Michael's thinks he'll be just fine. Anyhow...Molly didn't need glasses, yea!

Today we did Molly's kindergarten shots. I warned her before school that we would be going right after class was over. Like a typical Hall, she took the news like a champ and was so brave. Not one tear! Not one little tear. Awesome job, Toots!

Can you see the band-aid?? Barely...

August will be here before I know it...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!...

Some of my precious gifts...

Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mom's out there in the world. I am so thankful and blessed to be Mom to Cameron, Molly and Amanda. I am the truly lucky one!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Who's day is it?...

I hope this is a problem in other households and not just ours.

The kids fight/disagree/bicker over things such as who gets to sit by Daddy at dinner, who takes their shower first, who's turn it is to pick a movie, etc. We copied an idea that Mike's brother's family uses and assigned a "day" to Cameron and Molly. Originally Cameron was odds and Molly was evens. Worked well and I could easily figure it out as long as I knew what day of the month is was. That can be trickier than you might think if you are a SAHM, right??

Well...small fry figured out how to get in the mix and wanted a day, too. We use to humor her and pretend to make it her day but this is one smart cookie we have on our hands. That didn't work for very long. Take note Mark and Emily...Michael Shook solved the problem.

Doesn't everyone have one of these?

You need a closer look, don't you?

Oh yes, it is a chart FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR!! Every 3 days it is their day again and boy do they remember now that we have a chart. Cameron is blue, Molly is pink and Amanda is red. It has made life a lot easier for me. I now go look at the handy, dandy chart and I know exactly who's turn it is to hand out the silverware. No more counting to 3's for me. That was tricky. Ha ha.

On the off chance that there are 31 days in the month guess who gets a day. Bingo, me. Well guess what...I'm going to cash in all of my days on Sunday and have a very good Mother's Day. Right, Mr. Shook??

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Welcome to the jungle...

Wow. This never crossed my mind this time last year. I plead ignorance.




I have muttered under my breath several times in the last week, "who's idea was it to buy this house?" Rhetorical question...I already know the answer.

Today was the last day for "free" yard waste dumping at the recycle location for our city. After today you have to bag it and pay to unload it. We were trimming like wild people this afternoon. We filled three garage cans full. If anyone from the city of Morton would stumble across this post I have a suggestion/request. The free period of dumping needs to be longer. 2 weeks is what they give you and not long enough in my jungle.

Another jungle we encountered this weekend was the Illinois Marathon at the University of Illinois in Champaign. Mike ran the 1/2 marathon on Saturday. There were a lot of people running and watching but it was really fun. Mike finished 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 20 minutes. This course was hard and the heat came out at about mile 8. Mike hung in there and the finish line was at the 50 yard line in the football stadium.

Pictures of finishing, the 50 yard line and mile 9 1/2 high fives...

After the race Mike said, and I quote, "no matter what I ever say, do not let me run a marathon. Even if I think I can do it tell me it's a stupid idea." Now it's documented. Don't do it, honey. The 1/2 is way cooler!