Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving is a yummy holiday...

I have to share this.

No, I don't want to super duper embarrass my first born, my little guy, my son.

BUT...this is just too good to pass up.  He makes me smile and laugh all the time.  The things he does are funny and so innocent (the majority of the time).

I have to share his essay from school about Thanksgiving.  Grammar is third grade.

Thanksgiving is a yummy holiday.  I travel to Ohio because that is where my whole family is from.  It takes a long time to get there.  The food is awesome!  Turkey is the best of Thanksgiving.  I meet my uncles and my aunts.  They are fun!  I like Thanksgiving because it is when Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean and found indians on the island.  They ate with the indians so that's how  Thanksgiving began.

This essay is a keeper.  My boy is a keeper.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and Christopher Columbus!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

For those who have served...

we salute you!

Cameron had to decorate a star for Veteran's Day for school and on it he was to include a person he knows who served in the Armed Forces.  Luckily for him he knows two!  (Actually we have more in our family but the star wasn't that big...)

Thank you to both of  Cameron's Grandfather's for serving in the Army.  Because of the dedication of many, many men and women we are able to live in a country that is free.  We have so many freedoms here in the United States of America.  We need to embrace those freedoms and remember that they didn't come without many sacrifices and many lost lives.

The easiest thing we can say is...thank you!

Monday, November 5, 2012


It was been over a month since I did a blog post.  I felt like I needed to give my writing and posting a break. It's a long story, but I felt like my blog had been violated.  Someone or something was linking some of my blog posts to a site without my permission.  I had to ask for them to be removed and luckily, the person obliged.  I really don't understand their need to link my posts but the hits on my blog when crazy.  There really isn't anything here to read, unless you want to know about what my kids did on a boring summer day, or what we had for dinner one night.  I censor myself ON MY OWN BLOG with the fear of offending someone or something.  This is truly boring reading.  But, don't stop reading, please!!

Since I last posted I've had a birthday, which was very nice.  My parents have moved apartments within their complex (which was no minor undertaking!), we've had Halloween (very fun!).  The regular mundane things.  

Tomorrow we elect a new president or re-elect the one we already have.  I can't remember feeling like any other election has meant or mattered more.  I don't know what to wish for in the outcome.  I just know that I will be glad to have an end to the campaign ads, literature and phone calls.  I pray for our country and it's leadership.

Probably the biggest thing to happen here in a while is this...

The first loss of a front tooth at our house!

This is big news and I marvel at what a cute smile!

Maybe we'll be singing the famous Christmas song after all...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

You know you live in a small town when...

You go on a Saturday night and sit in a parking lot of a place that wants to install gutters on  your house, across from the Domino's in town, and they bring you over this...

which is a FREE pizza to sample.  Yes, just for sitting in the parking lot across the street, in the dark.

Because they know that you are waiting for this...

A police and fire truck escort back to town for your 8th grade baseball team who has just won the State Title!  Yes, you are seeing it correct...a escort back into town for the team.  It was so Hoosiers!

How many times have you ever seen something like that, boys?

And behind the school bus were all the parents of the team members and we got to see the TBTKK-mobile!  So glad that Becki Davis got to see Trevor play yesterday.  My sweet friend Becki is between chemotherapy treatments and going yesterday to the games was very important to her.  We are in awe of her strength.  You are kicking this, Becki!

A little DQ to end the very good day.  Mr. Shook ran a half marathon in the morning (which he finished in under 2 hours), Cameron had 2 soccer games, one for his travel team that was very, very hard and a half hour away, and a police escort for the Jr high baseball team.  Only in Morton, Illinois!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pumpkin Festival 2012...

There's this LITTLE thing in our town called the Pumpkin Festival and it is something that I can hardly describe to you.  


Yep, that about sums it up.

To my Ohio friends and family, remember that thing we called the Lodi Sweet Corn Festival.  Well, let me tell you it doesn't hold a candle to this puppy.  And that Bates Festival we tried to pull off in Seville a time or two, please.  Child's play.  This Pumpkin Festival is the REAL DEAL in the world of festivals.

It's really a fun time and the kids think it ROCKS.

Here's a few photos.  Honestly I forgot to take many.  My pumpkin bad.

Notice the thumbs up the dude is giving

Before the Pumpkin Festival even started the third graders at our school had to produce a pumpkin float replica to be displayed during the festival.  They were judged as a grade and won FIRST PLACE which equals winning cash that the grade will use for a pizza party.  
The theme of this year's festival was Peace, Love and Pumpkins.  
Here's our groovy float...

Then there is the LARGEST parade that I have ever seen that takes place on the Saturday of the festival.  This year the girl's dance studio entered a float for the first time.  It won 3rd place!

 Mr. Shook ran an impressive 10k on Saturday morning before the parade.  Almost 900 people ran the 10k and Mr. Shook finished #225.  Great job, honey!

The pumpkin festival is something that you just have to experience once.  Come and check it out, stay for a visit and let us show you what this town can do.  
It's amazing!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Another new look...

Sigh.  My baby is growing up even more.  Take a look at what we had to do for Miss Amanda...

Yep, following in the footsteps of her brother and her Mom.  Glasses.

I was very sad at first when we found out she needed them, but I'm better now and she looks awfully stinking cute in them.  Who doesn't think she looks so much like Cameron now?  I was so afraid that they would cover up her big, beautiful eyes.  I will get use to them as she gets use to them as well.

Another example of my little girl becoming a true Kindergartner.

She still gives the best hugs, though.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day 2012

Yesterday, September 3, 2012, marks 4 years that we have lived in Central Illinois.  And, starting today, this is the longest we have lived anywhere since 1998.  I wish I had some pictures of us moving 4 years ago.  It was a VERY hot day.  I wish I had more pictures of our house in Michigan.  I couldn't find any of it with landscaping.  But here's where we called home 4 years ago...

It was a good house for us and we hope that new memories are being made in it still.

I don't know that Morton is our forever home, but that's where we are now.  Today.  I know many folks who have moved multiple times with Caterpillar and I wonder if that is ever in our future.  They say in the CAT world that all roads lead to Peoria so even those that have moved somehow seem back in Central Illinois again.  Only the man upstairs knows what's in our future.  I do pray about it, though.  It certainly changes things when you have 3 children now in school.  Uprooting that would be a tough call. 

Anyhoo...no need to fret over that right now.  There is some celebrating to do here!

Fifteen years ago today Mr. Shook popped the question.

I remember it like it was yesterday.  We were on a vacay to Florida which started by Tampa and ended at Sanibel Island.  It was a really fun time (which 15 years later my Mom can still make scandalous!) and we got engaged on a Thursday night, on the beach, in the rain.  A light rain, I should say.  I was one excited girl and didn't tell anyone for 2 WHOLE DAYS!  And then when we did tell people I didn't know what to say! 

It was a great time, a very exciting time and the best decision I ever made.  I know there are days that Mr. Shook thinks what has he gotten himself in to, but he assures me, almost every day, that there is no place he would rather be. 


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Do you jot down the funny things your kids say and do?  We had one of those moments today and I thought it might be worth sharing, especially if you have a sense of humor.

School has started and we are one week into it which also means we have started homework and bringing home the 2nd grade reading book.  It is one HEAVY book.  Molly was telling me that today they learned about people who are blind and able to read braille.  She was explaining to me how they are talented to learn how to feel the bumps, which are letters, so they can read.

I asked Molly if she shared with her class that her Grandma was blind.  Molly told me no, she didn't share that.  I said maybe your classmates would like to hear about someone who is blind.  Molly said that Grandma was the only person she knows who is blind and she didn't know anyone else who was.  I told her that it was OK to only know one blind person and that although Grandma doesn't know braille her classmates might like to hear about her Grandma and how she listens to book on CD's.

Molly told me that Grandma can't read braille because she isn't talented.

Apparently talented and braille are one in the same. :)
From the mouths of babes...
Thank goodness my Mom would agree with her lack of talent and thank goodness my Mom would also find Molly's comment funny.  Because when you lose your sight or have something debilitating happen to you laughter helps you get through many tougher times.  Believe me we've had our share and we laugh about them all the time!  Even when one isn't talented! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First day of school 2012...

Today was our first day of school here in town.  As Mr. Shook likes to tease he says we ease in to things here like they would at Cloverleaf, it was just a 1/2 day.  With the amount of school supplies needed Cameron and Molly needed as extra set of hands carrying things in.  I was glad to be able to help.

Here are a few photos from this morning...

Cameron 3rd grade!

Molly 2nd grade!

For Kindergarten they have the afternoon class come for just an hour starting at 10:30 so Amanda and I had a few hours to kill beforehand.  She was very anxious to go back to school and see her class.

We were both very excited that Daddy got to join us for that hour at school.
Thanks for putting forth the effort to be there, Mr. Shook.  I love you for it!

Always great to see a few friends...

We are praying for a great year!  It should be fun!

One last one with me and the little "BIG" girl! 
All smiles here!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A few highlights in bullet points (which I am admitting I copied from a friend's blog)...

Things are really winding down here.  School starts in single digits and we are about ready.  This morning my small people are lounging watching Tinkerbell on DVD (the male small person is pretending like he isn't watching but I'm sure he is) and I'm getting ready to host Bunco tomorrow.  Here are a few highlights in bullet point fashion on our last few weeks...

* Today is THE day in school world...class lists will be posted and we are excited!!  Fingers crossed for the teacher's of our dreams.

* Soccer has started!  Cameron is on 2 teams this year so we will see how the juggling of our schedule goes.  We will also mix in dance for the girls so I'm pretty sure I will need a Taxi sticker for my car.

* The beloved pool time is wrapping up.  It was a fun summer of swimming and sun.  I'm pretty sure Cameron's hair may have a tinge of green to it so we're off for a school haircut this week.  It is amazing how much better swimmers all the kids became this year.

* Mr. Shook is gearing up to run 2 1/2 marathon's in September.  This is the time of the year when I become a runner's widow.

* We have all of our school supplies purchased and they are ready to label.  I am procrastinating on this task. Any volunteers are gladly welcomed.  I will provide the labeler!

* The kids are very, very interested in all the Olympic events.  Of course this thrills me as I love watching all the excitement and competition.  I think our favorites so far have been women's gymnastics and swimming.  Molly was so sad for Jordyn Wieber when she didn't qualify for the women's all around competition.  My favorite has been watching the hottie Ryan Lochte.  What a sight for sore eyes!  Wow!

* Yesterday both girls had great urologist visits and we don't have to see Dr. Rhee again for a whole year.  Hip Hip Hooray!  This is huge and I am thrilled.  Dr. Rhee commented that Molly has also gained 2 pounds since March which is a nice improvement for her as well.  Mike and I both wonder if it isn't from fun summer visits to DQ :)

* We have registered to walk for the 4th year in the MS Walk-a-Thon in Peoria.  It's always a nice time for a very good cause.  We joke that it's Mr. Shook's warm down as he runs a half marathon that morning and then we walk 3 miles for MS.  If anyone is interested in donating to our efforts we would love to hear from you.  We are always happy to support our friends The Sullivan's in Traci's efforts in finding a cure for MS.  We have our orange shirts ready!

* And speaking of orange shirts...5 weeks to Pumpkin Festival!!  Need I say more?  Fun times are a-coming!

Friday, July 27, 2012


I am fortunate enough that from time to time this summer my parents have come over and watched the kids for us.  I usually have things all set up and ready for meals.  My Dad can microwave a mean hot dog!

But, from time to time there are situations that come up where I am thinking UGH.  All Grandparents mean well, right?  Even if they don't do it like Mom does.

Yesterday Molly was going with a friend to a local Vacation Bible School.  We needed to get my parents home quick so we could race back and get Molly a sandwich to eat for dinner.  My Mom had called earlier in the day and asked what Molly was going to eat.  I told her I would make her a sandwich when I got home.  Some how that got translated to "make Molly a peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

In case you didn't all ready know this, Amanda is allergic to peanuts.  And, even with age, her allergy number does not seem to be going down.  It actually is going up.  I am not an expert on what those numbers mean so I'm not even going to try and explain them.  All I know is that we have Epi Pens, an Epi Pen is needed at school, and I know where they all are for emergencies.

So back to my dilemma with the making of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for my non-allergic daughter.  The ONLY time Amanda has ever had a reaction to her peanut allergy is when I (myself) cross contaminated the jar of jelly by using the peanut butter knife in it.  I know, you've cheated and done the same thing, right?  So I am now very, very careful to never do that.  Two knives are required to make a sandwich. It's just not something that my parents would think of since they didn't have a child with a food allergy.

I need to add a line in here that the only reason we have peanut butter even in our house is because 1) Mr. Shook loves it on a bagel or english muffin, especially good for him after running.  Peanut butter is excellent protein.  and 2) Molly loves it on a sandwich and celery and we need to find ways to bump up her weight and peanut butter is excellent for that, as well.  But, it is up very HIGH on our shelf, no one is to get it down on their own, and Amanda knows not to eat it.

But, Amanda loves herself a jelly sandwich and there are times where that is lunch.  Sad, I know because it just can't taste that good and therefore, our jelly can not be laced with peanut butter.

I do not think I am a food Nazi.  I am very careful to ask ingredients of things that I don't know what they are.  We avoid bake sales.  I already know we can't eat at Chik-Fil-A, Five Guys Burgers and I ask for Amanda's food to be cooked separately at places like FlatTop.  I mean ABSOLUTELY no offense by this next statement but the place where I have the most uncertainly is our church.  For our Wednesday night meals many desserts are brought in and the servers simply don't know the ingredients.  Not a big deal, we just don't have anything that we are unsure of.  Our church has a fabulous Egg Hunt every Easter.  It rocks!  But I always make a point of telling Amanda's Sunday School teacher to please not let her eat any candy before I look at it.  Our trick-or-treat candy gets an inspection, too.  It's just what we have to do.

Preschool was great about her allergy and I pray that Kindergarten will be the same.  From what I have seen the school does a good job.  It does bother me that their solution for lunch is to have a peanut free table.  I guess segregating them is safer.

I thank the good Lord that we have never had to use Amanda's Epi Pen.  Her only reaction was solved by a dose of Benedryl.  I think I have freaked out a baby-sitter or two with my Epi Pen instructions.  It scares me that I have to end that conversation with "and after you use the Epi Pen then you call 9-1-1."  I hope that we NEVER have to do that.

And, don't get me wrong about Grandma and Grandpa and them being helpful.  They both felt really bad that I now have to pitch the jelly.  If you know my Mom then you'll know she offered to buy a new jar.  Not the point.  A food allergy is just something that you have to be on top of all the time.

And, just writing this post has made me crave a Reese's Peanut Butter Egg!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A visit...

We made our annual summer visit to see Mr. Shook's parents, aka my in-laws, over the weekend.  We are always so busy and packing in a lot when were there but there are certain things that are a must when you go and visit family and Ohio.  

We visited our new baby in my family...

She is just precious!!

This one melts my heart...Amanda is so proud to hold her new (maybe third??) cousin

We spent a very hot Sunday at the Cleveland Zoo.
Cool, we got to touch an African House Snake.
ummm, no thanks

Thank goodness for the misting stations!

Yep, it's Duck Tape.
They had the coolest camper that was full of creations that you can make with Duck Tape.  Then you could get a free sample roll.
Fun with our cousins!

Lunch on Monday was at an Amish restaurant...

Sadly, we had to explain to the kids what being Amish meant.  No Wii, no DS, no TV (gasp!)  We saw lots and lots of buggies.  We saw an Amish boy in a Amish grocery store walking bare foot.  Molly wanted to know if 1) the Amish had showers because 2) his feet were really dirty!

Mr. Shook and I both grew up very near the headquarters of Smucker's.  You know, the jelly people.  It's in Orrville, Ohio.  We had never been to their company store until Monday.  It was really neat and sold all the products that Smucker's owns...Jiffy, Martha White, Pillsbury, Folgers to name a few.  It's only a short drive from where we grew up and neither of us had been to this store.

I know I'm partial to this beautiful country side, but this picture doesn't do justice to how pretty parts of Ohio actually are.  This was in Holmes County and the rolling hills are majestic!

Just a glimpse of a weekend in Ohio!

Monday, July 16, 2012

America's Favorite Pastime...

We have finished another year of baseball and we have finished our first year of softball.  

But, I sadly am a horrible softball Mom and forgot my camera for EVERY SINGLE GAME and have zero softball pictures.  I feel awful because Molly really loved it and did pretty well, if I may say so.  Imagine a really cute girl in an obnoxious orange Morton Rotary shirt with a batting helmet that was WAY too big, and bobbled back and forth when she ran the bases.  Yep, that was my girl.

Here are some pics from Cameron's last game where it was no less than 95 degrees at 9 AM.  We were ALL hot.  That's what you've gotta love about baseball.  You start in April in sweatshirts and end in July in the thinnest possible clothing you own.

Here's my Cleveland Indian...appropriate I know :)

Here's our favorite coach...

Here's the sister cheering section...

Thank you to my guy for stepping up and being Cameron's coach.  It takes a lot of time and dedication but we are so blessed that you want to spend this time with our kids.  We can now close the chapter on coach pitch ball. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

A shower for...Me??

I've heard couples that have been married many years say, "I would really like another wedding shower to replace all my kitchen, bath, and linen stuff."  It should be one of the perks of being married say 25, 30  years, right?

Well, Mr. Shook and I have been married 14  years and we are starting to feel that way.  Where have all our spoons gone??!!  Where are the lids that matched the perfect Rubbermaid containers we bought for our first apartment?

We have decided to slowly start replacing some of our stuff.  On Father's Day Mr. Shook got some much needed alone time at the mall (he enjoys shopping alone) and came home with a surprise gift for me...new glasses, and I mean drinking glasses.  This past weekend we did our monthly Sam's Club run and we found the deal of the day, a 50 piece Rubbermaid storage set.  And the lids hook to the bottom of each container or hook together and stack nested.  How cool is that??!!  If I could find new flatware that I love we will be replacing that as well.

We received some really nice things when we had our wedding showers when we got married.  But, some of the stuff has broken over 4+ moves, we've used them well or they have grown legs and just disappeared.  It's is nice to replace some of our stuff and I may have a pretty decent box to share at our church Basement Sale come August.

I guess it says a lot about our relationship when I am excited to get a new set of storage containers.  Bor-ing!  But, I'm glad to be boring with my guy.  He enjoys good storage, too.  (Smile!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

40 days and 40 nights...

We went and made a return to Kohl's on the Fourth of July, strange I know.  But, of all weird things Mr. Shook got a summertime illness, bronchitis, and didn't feel like doing the whole cookout kind of thing.  So we ran errands to get out of the house.  Anywho, one 7 year old fell in love with a new backpack.  I thought it was crazy even thinking about new backpacks, after all it's the fourth of July.

But, guess what...school starts in 38 days.  


We counted when we got home from purchasing the super cool new pink backpack.  And on the 4th of July it was 40 days.

I say...yuck.

We are having a fun summer and if we don't melt first from the extreme heat we will continue to have a lot of fun.

Hope you are, too!!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Kid's Muddy Madness!

Today we (the kids) participated in the coolest event.  It was called Kid's Muddy Madness for St. Jude's.  It was held in a local park and the pictures will not do it justice.  

But before I share about it I want to say what a great community we get to live in and what great friends we have.  The kids wanted to raise money to turn in as part of the race donation that would go to St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital.  We decided to sell popsicles and water at our friend's house.  They live on a busier street then we do.  I advertised it on Facebook, texted some friends and the kids held up signs as cars passed.  What an awesome response!  In a little over 2 hours they raised $90!!  We donated it all today to St. Jude's!  It was a great learning experience for the kids.

At the actual race kids were assigned to different waves to run.  Ages 4-6 (Amanda's age group) did a 100 yard dash and Cameron and Molly's age groups did a one mile run.  The one mile run went through some woods which had obstacles in it like going over mounds of dirt, running through tires, jumping over logs and climbing over a large stack of hay bails.

But, the best part was the end!!
The kids got to run through a mud pit!!!
It was a riot and the kids loved it (except for Amanda)!

Here's what everyone looked like at the end...

And then you got sprayed off by the fire department!

I read on Facebook that the kids run today raised $26,000.  How awesome is that!!!
We loved it and can't wait to do it again next year!

And, I feel so blessed today that we were a small part of such a good cause.  Especially when you have 3 healthy children.  Our prayers are with those who we helped today!