Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Difference a Year Makes

Happy Labor Day weekend!  It’s a hot, miserable day to kick off the Illini football season here today, and I can’t be happier.  That’s because it’s the complete opposite of last year when Hurricane Isaac came through and busted our drought.  More importantly it’s a very different weekend in our lives.  It was possibly the worst in either Eric’s and my lives.  Tyler had intussusception and subsequent surgery to fix it.

It all started the Friday before Labor Day.  Tyler was very sick with what we thought was a nasty cold.  He was sleeping constantly and very miserable.  Sometime that evening we decided it was time to take him to the doctor.  He was lethargic, listless and not like himself at all.  When we got to convenient care, he threw up in the lobby.  If you want to get in quickly to see a doctor, that’s the way to do it.  We didn’t even have time to fill out the forms.  The doctor told us it was a virus and an ear infection and sent us home.  We thought that didn’t sound too bad, until we got him home and one of us was up with him all night.  He just kept throwing up.  It was a long exhausting night and the poor guy just kept getting worse and worse.

Once the morning came, we were back in contact with the hospital. This time talking to a nurse on the patient advisory line.  Even though he’d been throwing up all night they told us that we couldn’t bring him in until it had been 6 hours with nothing going in him.  So we sat around the house all day on Saturday watching the Ilini game as everything we put in him came immediately back out.  It was awful.  He wanted to be held constantly.  If he wasn’t throwing up, he was crying.  My poor baby was miserable.  As soon as the Illini game was over, I’d had enough.  It hadn’t been 6 hours yet but we were going to the ER.

Once there, it only got worse.  He had become pretty unresponsive.  Once we finally saw a doctor, they berated us for waiting so long to come in because he was so dehydrated (I’d like to give the nurse who told us to wait 6 hours a piece of my mind). They started an IV in him which as a parent was quite possibly the worst thing ever.  They couldn’t get the IV into his tiny little 6 month old baby veins.  They poked and prodded.  There were 3 of us holding him down.  To this day, I want to break down and cry thinking of it (in fact I’m tearing up right now).  He needed it though. He was so dehydrated and still couldn’t keep anything down.  After a good 30-40 minutes of them attempting they finally got it in, he started getting fluids, and he started getting better.  He actually ate without it coming back up and we thought we’d get to go home and enjoy the rest of our long weekend.  Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.  They got a room ready for him because they wanted to make sure he continued getting the fluids he needed and that he stayed ok through the night.  In retrospect I’m very thankful they did this even though at the time I just wanted to go home and take care of my son.

Finally around 8pm that night we made it to Tyler’s room.  I came home to get some clothes and food and to let Guster out, so that I could spend that night.  Eric came home shortly after I got back.  If I thought the previous night was bad, this one was a lot worse.  About an hour after Eric left, Tyler started crying and getting sick again.  The nurses came in to check on him, but it was pretty much just me and him trying to make it through the night.  Neither of us slept much.  I spent a lot of the night standing and rocking and shushing him.  The nurses eventually had me marking on the board how much he was eating and what time it came back up.  It ended up that nothing was staying in at all.  It continued into the next day, but luckily Eric came so I could at least take a little cat nap.  It felt like it took forever for the on call doctor to come in.  I would have said it was at least noon, but it was probably more like 10am.

The on call weekend doctor thought it was probably just that he was extremely constipated, and his stomach was upset.  They gave him a laxative and took some x-rays just in case.  The x-rays didn’t show anything, but since it was a Sunday, the doctor wanted to be on the safe side. He ordered a CAT scan.  He told us he really didn’t think it would find anything though. The CAT scan like the IV was another horrible experience of Eric and I holding him still to try to get a good image.  It took a lot of tries and a lot of screaming and crying.  Shortly after we got back to our room, the doctor came in looking very grim and told us it was intussusception, and that it required surgery.  (TMI warning here) An intussusception is basically when the bowel goes in on itself basically.  It telescopes.  Usually, there is bloody stool (sorry to gross everyone out!), which Tyler didn’t have.  His body just wouldn’t let anything go through.  There are no pediatric surgeons at our hospital or in Champaign at all, so Tyler would have to go to Peoria to the OSF Children’s Hospital.  They wanted to take him by helicopter, but since Hurricane Isaac was visiting that weekend, it was too bad to fly.  We were going by ambulance.  This was actually better because one of us could go with him this way.

It seemed to take FOREVER for the ambulance to come.  From what the doctor told us, it seemed like it was an emergency situation, and that it needed to come quickly.  As we sat there, Eric and I just got more and more anxious and Tyler got more and more listless. Finally, they got there and tied Tyler’s car seat onto the board.  The ambulance seemed a little on the incompetent as well.  If we hadn’t had the car seat, we have no idea how they would have transported him. Eric rode with Tyler to Peoria while I came home to get clothes and things Tyler might need while we were there and to get Guster’s stuff ready for my parents coming to pick him up.  I don’t remember the drive at all except crying a lot and trying to stay awake.  It’s a bit of a miracle in itself that I got there unscathed.

Tyler and Eric were already in a room when I got there.  Then there was more waiting.  At some point, they finally came to get him to take him to have an ultrasound to determine how bad the telescoping was.  They had one procedure to try before going to surgery, a “nonoperative reduction”.  Basically they gave him an air enema to try to cause the part of the intestine that is inside the other portion to stretch back out.  The nurses and ultrasounds techs told us it would be very hard to watch, and he’d be very uncomfortable.  After watching the IV and the CAT scan, I couldn’t bare to stay and watch the air enema.  Eric stayed with him though, and was the support I couldn’t give at that point.  It took a lot longer than I was expecting which I had a feeling would mean bad news.  It was.  He supposedly did  not respond to it, so it was time for surgery.  We met Tyler’s surgeon.  He wasn’t a very friendly sort, but he was very competent and seemed like this was no big deal.  That reduced our nerves tremendously, but with a 6 month old who knows what could go wrong.  Worrying about his reaction to the anesthesia was my biggest concern. It was a laproscopic surgery and Tyler would have 3 small incisions where they would straighten his intestines back out.  Easy Peasy.

Finally at 11pm Sunday night, they started the surgery.  Eric and I were curled up in the waiting room praying, hoping and worrying pretty much all by ourselves that night.  I think both of us were just hoping beyond hope that everything would be alright.  Finally around 11:45pm the doctor came in and told us the best news ever.  The air enema had evidently just taken awhile to take effect and his bowels had straightened out. Everything was fine.  Tyler did have a hydrocele probably from all the throwing up that they would go ahead and take care of since he was already under.  Then the waiting began for him to wake up.  He came out perfectly.  I wouldn’t expect any less from my brave little boy.  I let Eric go in first because he was way more shaken from all of this than I was at least visibly.  I think somewhere around 2am we finally got back to Tyler’s room for a little sleep

The only picture of Tyler during this time.  This was on Labor Day after everything was ok.

The only picture of Tyler during this time. This was on Labor Day after everything had happened an he was ok.

The next day, Monday (Labor Day), they said Tyler was doing fine, but they wanted to watch him for awhile longer to make sure his bowels weren’t affected by any gangrene and were working fine.  So we began a day of trying to convince Tyler he wasn’t hungry after not keeping any food down since basically Friday morning.  It was difficult, but it didn’t matter because he was going to be ok.  We had an absolutely wonderful nurse that day.  I can’t remember her name now but she went out of her way to find toys for Tyler to play with and tried to put off medicine if we were all napping. She was amazing.

After all of that, finally on Tuesday morning they gave us the ok to feed Tyler.  Eric’s mom showed up that day.  She’d been on vacation that weekend, and my parents couldn’t come up because they had Guster and the farm animals, not to mention the 5 hour drive , so it had just been the 3 of us doing all of this together, our little family.  Finally around 2pm they said we were free to go home.  It was one of the best days ever.  Tyler was happy and doing well.  Eric and I were exhausted but so incredibly happy.

Tuesday night after we got home.  He's so happy that no one could tell he'd just had a miserable life threatening 3 days

Tuesday night after we got home. He’s so happy that no one could tell he’d just had a miserable life threatening 3 days

So this story had a very happy ending, but there is one part that hangs over us everyday with every virus or cold Tyler gets.  There is a very real chance that this could occur again especially since he’s had it once already.  The intussusception was caused by the virus that had enlarged a gland which caused the bowel to rub against itself and telescope.  There is about a 10% chance of it happening again.  Luckily the bigger he gets the less likely it’ll happen, and it’s very rare for it to happen after the age of 2.  Since we’re nearing Tyler being 18 months in the next week or two, it’s become a much more distant memory and less of a worry.  On days like today when we’re having fun with our sweet boy and he’s laughing and playing it’s hard to remember that he was ever that sick.

Tyler and Eric tailgating before the Illini football game today.

Tyler and Eric tailgating before the Illini football game today.


Chicken Pox and Salsa

So it’s been awhile again, but we’ve been on vacation (more about that later though when the pictures are ready to go)!  Of course it takes time to get ready before, so it’s been busy.  The thing is it was even busier than it should have been because Mr. Tyler came down with the chicken pox about a week and a half before we left.  He came down with them on a Saturday the same day as we were supposed to go to a birthday party and had a busy weekend planned!

Tyler didn’t have a bad case tough.  They weren’t even bad enough to get a spotty dotty picture luckily!  He had had the chicken pox vaccine, but only the first one so far, so my special little boy is even more special since he’s that 1 out of 10 people that still gets it after the first vaccine.  He was better in about 4 days and got one fun day with Grandma E. and really didn’t itch much at all.  He was a bit grumpy though 🙂

Since all our plans were cancelled for that weekend to keep everyone away from spotty Tyler, it meant that some cooking could be done.  It was time for fresh salsa!


The tomatoes, cilantro, onion and cayenne peppers

Garden tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime and salt

Garden tomatoes, onion, cilantro, lime, cayenne peppers, and salt

The tomatoes and the peppers came from our garden.  I used:

  1. 5 small to medium tomatoes,
  2. about half an onion finely chopped,
  3. about a quarter cup of cilantro finally chopped,
  4. one lime juiced,
  5. 3 cayenne peppers,
  6. 1/2 tsp salt

I just combined them and then refrigerated for a few hours and it was time to enjoy and we certainly did!  There’s nothing like garden fresh salsa in the summer!

Digging into the fresh salsa

Digging into the fresh salsa

Summer Heat

No it’s not scorching heat that I’m talking about (actually it’s gorgeous with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s! Perfect!), it was just time to start baking with my favorite summer produce, the zucchini!  Yeah, not what answer that most people would have I’m sure.

Delicious double chocolate zucchini muffins.  Great for breakfast or a snack!

Delicious double chocolate zucchini muffins. Great for breakfast or a snack!

We don’t have zucchini in our garden because Eric is not a fan to say the least.  Plus they take up a lot of room, which we definitely don’t have room for.  My dad on the other hand who has plenty of room for a huge garden, but he only plants two kinds of plants.  Tomatoes and zucchini!  While his tomatoes aren’t doing great this year (I totally won with the first ripe tomato this year!), his zucchini are going gangbusters!  He’s got a bumper crop and is picking at least 1 a day. I think my parents eat something with zucchini in it everyday.  He and my mom came up this past weekend to visit, and he brought me a big bag of huge zucchini.  I took most of them to work for my coworkers, but I kept one back for some baking for myself.

BatterI contemplated making regular zucchini bread for awhile, but since Eric wouldn’t be eating any of it (I keep telling him it only tastes like cinnamon, but he won’t listen!), I decided to make some awesome double chocolate zucchini muffins!  The best part of these (other than the chocolate) is that it takes 2 cups of zucchini, so I practically used up my entire zucchini.  I wish I’d gotten a picture of it before I shredded it.

Here’s the recipe I followed.  It’s from  They are fantastic.  I made a couple of changes to suit my tastes.  I added a little extra honey to sweeten it a bit more.  Also, I didn’t fully ring out the zucchini to keep a little more of the moisture in.  Lastly I added about a cup and a half of semi-sweet chocolate chunks instead of the cup of semi-sweet chips.  I love them, which is good since I’ll probably be eating all of them myself…but I don’t mind!

In the oven and when they came out!  Warm and delicious!

In the oven and when they came out! Warm and delicious!


Zoo Trip (1 of 2)

So I got even lazier.  That’s not really true at all considering how busy we’ve been.  Instead of a usual things I’ve made post (although I have some of those and some changes coming outside soon), this is going to be things that we’ve done or at least a start of that.  It’s been a really busy month and a half. The first weekend in our busy month was the first weekend in June when we headed down to the St. Louis Zoo with my parents for Tyler’s first zoo trip.

It’s a pretty long drive to St. Louis for a then nearly 15 month old, but he got through it like a champ.  We had a pretty good day for it too.  It was cloudy but not rainy and actually a little chilly.  At least the weather didn’t exhaust us by the end of the day.

Eric and Tyler both have a love of touching things so they got a lot of that at the zoo.

Eric and Tyler both have a love of touching things so they got a lot of that at the zoo.

Grandma and Grandpa Ensor came with us for a fun filled day.  Tyler's pointing at one of the monkeys in the monkey house.

Grandma and Grandpa Ensor came with us for a fun filled day. Tyler’s pointing at one of the monkeys in the monkey house.

It was a pretty long day for all of us. We all left home around 9am, and we met my mom and dad in Effingham to ride together to St. Louis. We finally got to the zoo around noon. It was immediately time to eat. We were all starving by then!  Finally it was time to see some animals after that!  We found out that Tyler really loves the animals.  No particular favorite just all animals. He would point and call them whatever name of an animal he could actually say even if that wasn’t really at all close to what the animal actually was.  The ones he got pretty close were dog for a hyena, and he mooed at some antelopes that looked like cows.  All the animals were new and fun for him, so I’m not sure he really had a favorite.  If I had to guess, he may have enjoyed the monkey house the most of all.  He loved saying “ohoh ahah” to the monkeys and pointed a lot.  It was rather adorable if I do say so myself.  We took lots of pictures, but the following are a sampling of what we saw.

Lions taking afternoon siestas.

Lions taking afternoon siestas.

My favorite of the day were these two kangaroos.  I took about 5 shots of them boxing with each other!

My favorite of the day were these two kangaroos. I took about 5 shots of them boxing with each other!

Tyler rubbing the gorilla's nose for good luck.  It's like Lincoln's nose right?!

Tyler rubbing the gorilla’s nose for good luck. It’s like Lincoln’s nose right?!



Memorial Day weekend

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!  I was able to spend 3 wonderful days with my 3 guys.  I always look forward to the 3 day weekends to spend lots of quality time with my family while still remembering all those who served our country.

The 6 ingredients needed to make raspberry bars

As for our weekend we stayed very busy!  On Saturday, we went to a 3rd birthday party and were able to catch up with a bunch of our friends.  Sunday, started off great with Tyler sleeping until 6:45am but by the afternoon he developed a fever.  I should have known what was coming when he sleeps in!  Hopefully it’s just some teeth coming in and not another ear infection.  Today even though Tyler was still under the weather we took a quick trip to Allerton Park in Monticello to see the pretty flowers.  We just beat the heavy rains before we left.  Unfortunately, we still had to drive back through them though.

A tasty raspberry bar

A tasty raspberry bar

These raspberry bars which I didn’t make this weekend would have been perfect because they don’t require a whole lot of time or effort.  Besides that they are relatively healthy if you ignore the butter and brown sugar.  These only take 6 ingredients, and I only had to specially buy the raspberry jam for this.  The rest are normal staples.

I made this recipe on a work night for Eric to take for dessert in his lunches. Some changes I would consider making are mixing blueberry jam and strawberry jam with the raspberry jam and have mixed berry bars instead.  I’m sure there are plenty of other jams that would be really tasty in these as well.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!

All Hands for Moms!

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the mothers out there!  I was excited to celebrate my 2nd Mother’s Day this Sunday.  I spent a wonderful day at home with my 3 boys (yes Gus counts!).  We spent one day last weekend with my mother-in-law to celebrate and next weekend we’re going to go to the zoo with my parents to celebrate with them, so that left today just for us.

Since we didn’t spend the actual day with either of our mothers, I wanted to created something special for both grandmas.  What I came up with was a flower pot with the grandkids’ hand prints on it!  Eric’s mom’s flowerpot had all 3 boys’ hand prints (Tyler and my 2 nephews) while my mom’s only has Tyler’s.

The first step was to paint the terracotta pots with white house paint.

The first step was to paint the terracotta pots with white house paint.

I used two terracotta pots that I got from Hobby Lobby. I wanted to paint the pots white so it would be easy to see the hand prints against the pot. I tried some tempura paint to begin, but after 6 coats or so, it was still soaking into the pot and I was getting no where. Eric suggested that I try our Behr Premium Ultra paint that we use for trims and doors. I washed all the tempura paint off, and started in with the house paint.  It worked perfectly. I was able to cover the pots pretty well after 3 coats. It still wasn’t perfect, but it was white enough that we could easily see any paint color that was used on it.

I used a spray sealer from Krylon to coat the pots to keep the hand prints from running when the plants were watered.

I used a spray sealer from Krylon to coat the pots to keep the hand prints from running when the plants were watered.

The next step was to get the kids wrangled and paint their hands to put them on the pots. My nephews (and of course my brother and sister-in-law) were here visiting in the middle of April, so it was the perfect time to work on this. Some kids were more cooperative than others (Tyler was not a fan of anyone messing with his hands at all!) I used plain old washable paint for this step. My sister-in-law helped me decide what the design would look like. She also had the fantastic idea of having the kids put their hand prints on construction paper and creating a flower from that. Then we would glue it to a stick and put it in the flower pot. Unfortunately, I remembered to have one child do this extra step, and then I even forgot to take that to my mother-in-law. I’m getting forgetful in my old age!

Once the hand prints were dry on the pots, I was able to paint their names either above or below the hand prints, as well as “Happy Mother’s Day 2013” around the top lip of the pot. Eric even got in on the design by telling me I had spelled Mother wrong the first time around (I got “H” happy!). Thank goodness for washable paint. On my mom’s since I had more room I was able to write “Love, Tyler” on the back. The last step was to spray the pots with 3 coats of Krylon clear sealer. This was a mandatory step since the paint is washable and plants have to have water!

The finished product.  My mother-in-law's is on the left, and my mom's is on the right.

The finished product. My mother-in-law’s is on the left, and my mom’s is on the right.

I think they turned out pretty well! The grandmas like them! My mom doesn’t have hers yet, but she has seen pictures of it. I’m glad that we were able to give a heartfelt present that will remind the grandmas of this Mother’s Day.

The amazing chocolate stuffed french toast with raspberry syrup that Eric made for me!

The amazing chocolate stuffed french toast with raspberry syrup that Eric made for me!

As for my Mother’s Day, it was much better than the first when we were all sick! Tyler slept in until after 7am, which was amazing! Eric made me delicious chocolate stuffed french toast with an amazing raspberry sauce.  My wonderful husband and son gave me a gorgeous petunia hanging basket and some of my favorite M&Ms, coconut! We then went to the local nursery to get plants for our garden as well as flowers for the flower beds. We had Chinese food for lunch, which usually I never get since Eric is not a “fan”.  Most importantly, I spent the rest of the day with my boys. I was even able to get most of my plants in the ground. It’s too bad I didn’t realize that there was a possibility for frost tonight before I planted them though!

It was a fantastic day. I love my guys and how sweet they are to me. I’m certainly one lucky gal!

Busy Bees

So I have nothing interesting to blog about this week…at all.  I’m going to have to cook/bake something interesting soon because I’m certainly no where near being finished with any craft projects that I can actually show on here soon.  We’ve have been insanely busy but with nothing that is really bloggable!

Two weekends ago we (Eric and I) were sick with strep throat, so we had to cancel a trip down to Litchfield that had already been cancelled because of the snow at the end of March.  Needless to say nothing got done that weekend because we felt horrible.  Actually we did manage to get some major cleaning done because we had to, and honestly I’m not sure the last time the entire house had been that clean!  We had to do a great cleaning job because we’d been thinking about selling our house and were meeting with a realtor last week.  Unfortunately, we decided that wasn’t a smart move for us at this time, so we’re staying put.  We were getting pretty excited about all the houses we were finding in our price range.  Now, we’re going to refinance, put more money towards paying off our mortgage and hopefully pay a little less each month.  That took up an extraordinary amount of our time last week.

This past weekend we had Eric’s brother’s family up to visit.  It was a lot of fun, and we did several fun things.  Plus I got to hang out with my adorable nephews.  Unfortunately I forgot to take any pictures. 😦  We did go to One Week Boutique, a huge kids’ consignment sale that occurs twice a year in the CU.  Evidently you don’t get much unless you volunteer at the sale, are a first time mom, or a consignor.  In the fall, I’m going to have to volunteer!  The only thing I bought was one pair of shoes for Tyler.  It was kinda disappointing since I’d seen pictures online and was expecting something a whole lot more impressive than what we saw.  We also cooked out!  Yay for beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday!  But the whole weekend went way too fast and was over before it started it seemed.

So while I have nothing really to show on the blog.  We have been really busy.  Maybe this coming weekend we’ll be able to do some things around the house or maybe get into the garden (although with the amount of rain we’re supposed to get this week, it seems unlikely!).  I have a long list of things I want to do and things to blog…there just needs to be free time to do them!!