Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Pox and, well, who knows?

Tuesday afternoon Ryann came home with a note from school saying that her class had been exposed to the chicken pox. Symptoms were listed as:
* cold like symtoms - runny nose and low fever (remember - fever on Sunday? she's also had a runny nose for the last couple of days)
* loss of appetite (she hardly ate anything all weekend - even at the ballpark)
* spots that look like pimples

She also came home with a spot that looked like a pimple.

Nice. I contacted the director and she seemed to think that if Ryann had it, it would be awfully soon since the incubation period is 10-20 days and she had been exposed just the previous week. We decided that I would watch and see.

By Tuesday night she had several more red spots on her face - none of them were pussy like the stuff I was reading said to watch out for, though. Yesterday morning she had a few more spots on her face - still not pussy, though. No red spots on her trunk, however, her whole torso was covered in raised bumps - almost like permanent goose bumps... not red, just tiny little bumps.

I took her to the doctor yesterday afternoon. She was diagnosed with double ear infections and an atypical case of chicken pox. She had the first vaccination, but has not had the booster yet. Because she has been vaccinated, she will have a very mild case and it is atypical in presentation, according to Dr. Hottie. I'm not sure he was entirely convinced, either, because he mentioned it wasn't a long enough incubation period, the spots weren't really large enough and didn't look like chicken pox. Then he saw the one on her upper lip and I think that is what convinced him (this one was pussy and looked like an infected pimple).

This picture doesn't really show the spots very well and she was in no mood to let me take more:)

So Ryann is quarentined until everything scabs over. I'm hoping this is as bad as it gets because she feels just fine - the spots don't itch or hurt - and is going to have a tough time watching her sister play with the boys next door and not be allowed to go out herself.

Now we just wait and pray that Georgia doesn't break out. Nora has had the initial vaccination and the boster, so her chances of getting them are very, very slim.

In other news... I am miserably sick, too. Tuesday night I started with a sore throat. It kept waking me up all night. I still have it and it is worse right now - I feel like my uvula (that little dohicky that hangs in the back of your mouth) is swollen. Yesterday morning I got the fever aches - you know, the aches that just sit in your joints and make you uncomfortable? For me it is my lower back, my knees and my wrists. No fever, though. And a dull, lingering head ache.

All I feel like eating is ice cream, oatmeal, tomato soup and coffee. Everything else sounds like torture on my throat. And all I feel like doing is laying on the couch and watching tv - but since Ryann and I are sick, the tv is forever stuck on cartoons - ugh.

I guess I can look forward to a full day of Dragon Tales, Sesame Street and Barney. How exicting is that?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Birthday celebrations redeux

All of our family lives out of state. For this reason, our girls' birthdays are often celebrated several times... Our family - Cornbread, the girls and I - celebrate on the day of the birthday, but we usually have to wait to celebrate with Cornbread's family until they're in town (they live in Virginia) and then we celebrate with my family during the summer at a big combined grandchild birthday picnic.

Papa and Nana were in town over the weekend and we had our celebration for Ryann's birthday on Sunday afternoon and evening.

After doing some yardwork and eating lunch, we had cake and opened gifts...

I am pleased to announce that I am the next Ace of Cakes;)

Ryann was struggling with some kind of illness over the weekend. Not sure what it was - fine during the day, but started dragging as we went through the afternoon and evening. Just before we did cake and presents she had a fever, which is why she doesn't look too thrilled about opening presents (tylenol was just kicking in).

Woofy loves to rip up wrapping paper - here he is lurking and trying to steal some.

Singing Happy Birthday - never sure about being in the spotlight and being slightly under the weather doesn't help:) As much as I've begged her to stay 3, I did actually put 4 candles on the cake - one is hidden behind another.
I opted to have cutie donut instead of cake - not sure why anyone wouldn't:)
Later that evening we all went to a Kane County Cougars game and enjoyed the nice weather and the cheaper than major league baseball seats & treats. We were all exhausted afterward, but we had a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Cornbread's Office

Cornbread changed careers almost 4 years ago. He had been a mortgage loan officer for several years and was quite successful at it. He was unhappy, though. Incredibly unhappy. He was trying to do business in a way that was not rewarded in that industry (servicing his clients) and was finding it increasingly difficult to not get discouraged and not compromise his integrity. Ultimately our Edward Jones advisor, who was a friend of his, recruited him to join the firm... at just the right time.

So he went through the hiring process and was hired in the fall of 2004. They paid him to study for his series 7 exam for 2 months, paid him to train in St. Louis, and paid him to go out into the neighborhood and knock on the doors of people he didn't know. They paid him, however, it was a substantial decrease from his previous income (like 75% decrease). They have an incredible company and an amazing training program. And we are fortunate to have been paid anything during that time.

For the first year he worked out of our home. They don't give you an office until you hit a certain milestone. He was in the process of finding office space in September 2005 when an existing office became available (each branch office has only one advisor and one assistant - this particular branch's advisor had been dismissed). He took it, gladly - he also took over the assets.

The thing is, though, the firm gives you an office and an executive desk, a desk for the assistant, and two filing cabinets. The rest is up to you... and the previous guy took all of his additional furniture.

When he first got an office his commissions were minimal - in 4 years he has only earned enough to pay our monthly bills twice. So adding extra furniture to the office was pretty much out of the question - we aren't paying our bills at home, how do we afford to furnish the office? We couldn't, so he worked in very bare office space for a couple of years.

Last year he earned a bonus and we decided to use most of the money to finally furnish and decorate the office. Fortunately one of his clients is an interior designer and when he called her she insisted on helping him for free:) He gave her a budget and let her loose - and she did an amazing job!

One weekend last summer I went there and painted - I put a fresh coat of Edward Jones green on his office wall, added a green wall to his spare office and painted over the standard issue Edward Jones gray with a warm cream. It totally changed the space - it felt warm and inviting instead of cold and kind of dreary.

Then Anita did her magic...

She added all of this - it was a blank gray wall before. This is the area you see as you walk past the assistant's desk and over to his office.

I LOVE this bookcase! This is directly across from his desk and behind the clients as they meet with him. This wall had two dull pictures hanging on it - Edward Jones standard - and nothing else.
I think it is such a cool piece and I never would have thought it would work - I LOVE it!

This is the other wall in his office. Standard issue Edward Jones green (which is more of a forest green than what the picture shows). This wall was also bare and had some white spots from the previous guy's wall hangings. The fresh coat of paint really helped.
The portraits are canvas wrapped - they look like paintings on a canvas - and I adore them! This is my absolute favorite part of his office:)

Now I walk in and think, "Is this really MY husband's office?" I am so proud of him and the work he does. He amazes me in a way that I cannot articulate - I cannot begin to explain how tough - mentally and emotionally - those first 2 years were for him and how tough it continues to be at times. He had the foresight to get our finances in place so that we had enough back up funds to afford this adventure - his paychecks haven't paid our bills in 4 years (except for two months), yet we still haven't run out of back up money. His income continues to grow and if we lived in podunkville we would be thriving!! We happen to live in a very expensive area, though, and our expenses, while bare minimum, are still pretty outrageous.

He is a man of integrity and I am so proud of him. He works hard to do what is best for his clients rather than what is necessarily best for his pocketbook. He faced this job head on and never turned back. He has chosen to build his business at a slower pace so that he can be part of our girls' lives. He strives for balance and tries very hard to not allow his work to take over his life. I love him, repect him and think he is amazing.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Is a 4 year old Cutie Donut stale?

I have been calling her 4 for several weeks now, but on Saturday our Cutie Donut officially turned 4 - and she is far from stale;)I have been begging her for the last 48 hours to stay 3 and she simply refuses to comply. I don't understand why she can't be 3 forever - and why she doesn't want to. I do, however, now understand why my Gram always asked us to stop growing up:)

Georgia and I celebrated her birthday with her at school on Friday afternoon. She got to play Bozo Buckets, pass out treats, and blow out candles on a fake birthday cake. She was so proud to have us there! And I loved seeing her in that environment.

Since our family is not in town, we do what we can to make the actual day of the birthday special and then celebrate with grandparents at another time. So on Saturday we picked her up from our friend's (they spent the night on Friday night) and begged her to stay 3. We brought the girls to an open house at Dinner By Design (owned by friends of ours), so they could jump on the jumpy thing (what do you call those?) and get their faces painted - and begged her to stay 3. We walked over to McDonalds and they played and played in the playland before we had to leave to get ready for church. After church we brought pizza next door and had dinner with our next door neighbors and their kids and opened presents - and begged her to stay 3. They gave her a Webkinz, which was awesome!!! (although, Cornbread and I are now convinced that she will never feel compelled to do chores around the house now that she doesn't need to earn money to buy her own lol!). When it began to rain, we had to forego our plans for s'mores and play inside their house instead. It was a really fun and tiring day! The girls didn't go to bed until after 10pm and had been up around 6:30am. And needless to say, she reFUSES to stay 3. Hmph.Ryann is such a joy for us. It has been incredibly interesting to observe her and parent her over the last year. All we have to compare is Nora - and they are SO different!

Ryann is very easy going and laid back. She doesn't seem to overreact to situations like her older sister does. She is not overly emotional. She just is and usually accepts situations for what they are. While she has had her share of tantrums in the last year, they are very rare now and I have learned what fights are worth fighting and which ones are not (fighting over what she wears is NOT worth it - took me a few times to learn that lesson).

She appears to be kind of shy - she is quick to hide in our legs if someone she doesn't know walks up to us. She does not like to look people in the eyes and say Thank You or even Hi. But once you are in Ryann's circle, she is so snuggly and loving and giggly and cute! She is still stingy with her kisses, though;)

She is also more introverted than the other two girls. I often see her playing by herself on the playground at school. She is never upset about it. Never complains. And I don't believe it is because noone likes her or doesn't want to play with her - she likes to be by herself and with her closest people (this is also evidenced in the fact that she misses and craves "Jenny Time" - time alone with our friend Jenny).

And although she is introverted and somewhat shy, she is very, very confident in herself. Her teacher told me this on Friday and I defnitely agree. She knows who she is and is very comfortable with that - because of this, we try very, very hard to not make her shyness or introvertedness a big deal. We encourage her, but understand and do not put social expectations on her that are unmeetable (I guess it helps to have an introverted mom, heh).

Cornbread and I each have one older sister so we know absolutely nothing about middle children or the dynamics of a 3 child family. We try hard, though, to treat Ryann with fairness and perhaps a little extra attention because of her place in our family. It seems that it would be easy to overlook her based on the needs of her older and younger sister and her easy going personality. While we don't favor her, we do try to be aware of the possibilities and be more intentional in our affection for her. We also try to make her feel she has a special role in our family because she is the only one who gets to be an older sister AND a younger sister - how cool is that?

It isn't hard to be intentional with our affection for her because she is just so yummy! Her hugs linger longer than most and she is quick to reach out and touch me - seems that she has always, always craved physical touch and I am happy to comply:) I can never satisfy my Cutie Donut craving!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Armoir & Dresser

I know, dear reader, that these posts are not much more than yawn-worthy... Its not very exciting to read about my decluttering, unless it is uberdramatic. However, I hope that as I go along this may be more about a different journey than the one of clearing out stuff. Maybe it won't. Hmmm.

Thursday night Cornbread and I went to see our favorite high schoolers perform in Fiddler On The Roof (aside: I have never seen that play and it was fantastic!). Since we were gone all evening I missed every single one of my favorite tv shows... Grey's Anatomy, LOST, ER, Survivor (is this not the best season ever?), and The Office. Friday afternoon I had a lot of catching up to do, so I tackled Cornbread's armoir and my dresser.

It is important to note that I ruthlessly went through my dresser and our closets a couple of months ago, so there wasn't much to get rid of. However, I hadn't touched Cornbread's armoir in several years so yesterday was the day.

The armoir has 5 small drawers, one large drawer and 3 shelves inside. I did not go through the inside shelves as those are items he needs to sort through. I left much of what was in the smaller drawers, however, I felt he no longer needed 3 pairs of super heavy socks (for skiing??? We haven't skiied since 2000), and 4 swimsuits. The large drawer has been our catch-all for random tshirts that we use for working out. I am amazed at how many tshirts two people can collect in 6 years (since we moved in)! So the large drawer is where I spent most of my energy.

Gave away: 17 tshirts, 4 pairs of shorts, 1 men's swimsuit, several pairs of dark dress socks, 3-4 pairs of super thick, heavy socks.

Threw away: 13 tshirts (all had paint on them, hence thrown away and not given away), 3 pairs of shorts, several single socks, a pair of holey sweatpants.

The large drawer is now very organized and probably has 15 shirts in it (have't counted). I didn't keep any workout tshirts for myself since I have other workout clothes, however, I kept two tshirts that I kind of struggled with. One is my Honduras mission trip tshirt that everyone on the trip signed and wrote notes on. The other is my cast tshirt from the play I was in my senior year of high school - again, everyone signed and wrote notes on it. I struggled with keeping these because they're useless - I will never wear them, I had forgotten I had them, and the writing is faded. I just had a hard time getting rid of them. I need to decide to either toss them or put them in a memory box in the crawl space. Over the next few days I will get them out and try to read the notes, spend some time with the memories and decide what to do with them.

I looked through my dresser drawers and found nothing to get rid of. I have a hard time keeping painting clothes, however, I paint enough that it is worth keeping them so I don't ruin my other clothes.

Next up: Nora's & Ryann's closets and dressers.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Bedside Tables

Another piece of the home has been successfully decluttered - Dave's and my bedside tables. Granted, I did not tackle a major project, but it is one more thing to check off.

I didn't take pictures because it wasn't very dramatic...

Each table has 2 drawers and a "counter" or whatever you want to call the top of it that tends to collect the crap that we're doing (okay, just me - Dave is pretty good about keeping his clear, so I like to clutter it up from time to time:)

Put away (in its proper place): several books that were both of our drawers - put away in the bookcases in the family room, a couch pillow that had magically appeared in our bedroom, an extension cord, some random photos, a pajama shirt and 2 bras, a bandana.

Thrown away: leftover sunday tribune crossword puzzles that I will never solve, a box of condoms (did I really say that? yes. I thought about putting them on freecycle, but I was too embarassed - so I post it on the WWW instead), some random garbage/papers that ended up in our drawers, a couple of fabric belts that will never be worn, a ring box, a couple of empty boxesl, two folders of life insurance continuing education materials that Dave hasn't touched in 2 years.

Given away: cufflinks and a money clip, a pair of slippers, a baby do-rag.

Our drawers are now almost empty. I kept a couple of books in mine, a box of misc. greeting cards, an envelope of memories from college, and my camera case. I kept a new wallet, some handkerchiefs, the cord to our queen sized electric blanket and our ski goggles in Dave's (I should find a better place for them, but until I do, I know exactly where they are).

I also dusted and cleaned all of my bedroom furniture.

Next up: Dave's armoir & my dresser.

And for the record, my bathroom counter from last week still looks like the after picture!!!

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