Monday, June 30, 2008

2008 Summer Regional - Indy

Last weekend Cornbread and I went on our 4th summer regional for Edward Jones. Every year is different and more comfortable than the previous. This year was wonderful!

We were in Indianapolis from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning. My mom came and stayed with the girls while we went away by ourselves - it is awesome! And benefits everyone involved:)

We got there on Thursday afternoon - later than we had hoped, but still in time for Cornbread to speak on a veteran's panel for the segment 1 & 2 FA's. I hung out in our room alone - with no one asking me questions, no one fighting or crying, no cartoons. It was beyond lovely:)

The last two years have been in beautiful resorts in Wisconsin. This year was in the heart of downtown Indy. Its definitely a different experience to have the weekend in the city rather than a resort. Both are fun and exciting - not sure which I like better.

We didn't do many truly exciting things while we were there, but it was fun to just hang out in the city for a few days. We walked to the zoo on Friday afternoon, hung out at a billiards/bowling bar with the company on Friday night, watched the Sox win their games against the Cubs, hung out at the oldest bar in Indiana and listened to live blues, went to an Irish pub and went running (btw - I fell in love with running in the city!). Nothing mind blowing, but it was all fun and it was all filled with hanging out with other people.

There were a couple of nice differences this year from the previous years:
* Since last summer, the region has split and become smaller - we went from 72 FA's and their spouses to 53 FA's and spouses - HUGE difference. There were 11 brand new FA's and several of them did not have spouses. The smaller region makes the meetings go quicker and makes getting to know the others a whole lot easier. Since there were 11 brand new FA's there were 42 veteran FA's. This means that the pool of people that we've been with at previous regionals is smaller and more familiar. It also means that there were quite a few new people to get to know and try to be as welcoming as possible and help them feel as comfortable as possible (something that we did not experience at our first regional).

* Because this was our fourth regional it was much more comfortable than the previous three. Last years was good, but this year was awesome. It is strange - I now totally understand why people didn't go out of their way to make us feel comfortable at our first regional. I also understand why people didn't make an effort to get to know us. There are many factors that go into this, but a big one is that due to the nature of the business and the training that EJ FA's go through, many of the brand new people are not there the following year - so why try to get to know them if they won't likely stick around? Now, because of our experience, we try hard to get to know them and put some effort into meeting them when we're at these things. We do what we can, but at the same time the responsibility does not fall entirely on our shoulders. One thing that I try to remember is that if we can support these guys a little better, maybe the fallout will be less. We hung out with a new FA all day on Thursday. It wasn't the most comfortable situation for me, but it was important to do.

* Because it was our 4th regional, we knew quite a few of the veteran's - we had the opportunity to get to know them at the last two meetings because we didn't bring our children with us.

I think for the two of us it is so important to go without our kids - not only for the fact that it is nice to get away and go on vacation without them, but since we try to place high priority on building relationships it is much easier to try to do so without dragging kids all over with us and being interrupted while trying to have a conversation. Even if the other person has their kids, its still easier for US to focus on building that relationship if our kids are not there.

It was a nice weekend away. We were exhausted by the time we got home because we stayed up way too late every night, but we were still able to stay up late enough last night to watch the White Sox sweep the Cubs:) A perfect ending to a wonderful weekend (oh, and my mom cleaned my house while she was here - much better than I ever do. I think I will come up with a reason for her to come here for a couple of days every week, uh, I mean month;)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Something more

Summer is tough for me. I feel so smothered all the time. My kids are at ages where someone seems to need constant attention or there is constant talking. I made rules at the beginning of the summer - if it is not raining outside, they will go outside at 10am and play outside all day. We have a swingset, a sandbox, a trampoline, a water table, 5 trees to climbs, lots of bugs to find and two little neighbor boys next door - there is absolutely no reason why they should be inside during the summer.

Okay fine.

But they're still coming inside all the time. Can we have a snack? When can we have lunch? When can we have a freezepop? The water table is leaking and needs more water. So and so called me a name. Thats the older two.

Georgia in the meantime is being 2 1/2 inside the house - begging to go outside (she can go out back by herself because we have a fence, but out front only if supervised by me or Cornbread... not something that I'm always able to do) and when she can't she's making incredible messes.

Its been 2 weeks? Right? or 3? Whatever. My brain feels like it wants to explode. My body feels like it wants to cave in. I need some space. Some time. I need to be away from them sometimes and it doesn't seem to happen very much during the summer.

And the guilt sets in. I feel like I'm the only mom in the world who can't handle being with her kids all the time. The other night as I was reflecting on this I told Cornbread that I felt like I just wasn't made to be a mom. I love my girls with all of my heart. But the mom thing? Not so much all the time. I guess its more the mom thing in addition to the taking care of the house thing. And the family. And all of the responsibilities. It is all a bit overwhelming sometimes and then add to the mix my introvertedness and need to re-energize by being by myself and not getting much of that time... it makes for a volatile situation sometimes.

Right after telling all of this to Cornbread he walked over to me, gave me a hug and said, "I think the problem is that you were made to be more than a mom." Holy cow did he hit it on the head. He summed up every restless feeling I have had in that one sentence. And then he took me on an unplanned date and took me shopping to White House Black Market and made me try on every dress in the store and bought me one PLUS accessories. He really excelled at taking care of me:)

I spoke to my dad this morning and he talked largely about not worrying about tomorrow or yesterday - we simply need to take care of today.

God has spoken loudly to me through my two favorite men.

My theme for the summer is: "And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there." I Corinthians 7:17 (MSG translation)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The hunter simply barks

Its been raining over here. Like on and off for the last several days. Thunderstorms. Lightening. Flooding our backyard. Tornados to the SE of us.

This morning I went out in the backyard to find out how my tomato, strawberry & pepper plants made it through last night's storm. I took Woof outside with me and he surveyed the yard with me. At one point he took off running toward the back corner and I saw something run away from him to the corner behind the lilac bush. I couldn't figure out what it was... Woof barked. And barked. And barked in its little face. The thing hissed at him. And Woof kept barking.

I yelled for Woof to come in. I couldn't see what it was, but I saw a pointy snout & white - I was thinking that I was due for a tomato juice bath that afternoon and was trying my best to head that off. I yelled for Woof. I yelled for Cornbread. I'm sure I woke up the neighbors (although surprisingly I didn't wake up my kids).

Cornbread came rushing down and got Woof away from the bush so he could investigate. He found:

An opossum. Lets just say these things are cuter from a distance and when you can't see the tail;)

It was frightened and wouldn't move. It looked pretty small and scared. I just wanted it to climb a tree and go home:) We looked at it from all angles, I told Cornbread that I was going to throw rocks in the corner to try to flush it out and he scolded me...

Eventually, it emerged and walked along the length of the back fence to the other corner and disappeared. (Cornbread and Ryann said it was FAT and ugly).

Our Woof came in the house all proud of his hunting abilities. And I boldly reminded him that he did no hunting, he did no protecting, he just barked and wagged his tail. It is abundantly clear who we can count on in an emergency.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Linen Closet

I did not intend to declutter my linen closet this soon... it was a few places down the list. However, Georgia and Ryann had great fun in completely emptying the closet of its contents the other day (the reason I don't have a before photo). Since EVERY sheet, blanket, towel & pillow case were on the hallway floor and half unfolded AND Purple Heart Veterans were coming today I decided this would be as good of a time as any to finally declutter this small space.

First I had to refold everything. Then make piles to give away. Here is a photo of what PHV picked up from our front step this morning:

This pile includes the tshirts and shorts that I decluttered from the armoir a couple of weeks ago, but it also includes the following from the linen closet: 1 twin comforter, 4 full sets of twin sheets (fitted, flat & pillow cases), 1 full set of king sheets, 1 king mattress pad, 1 Queen blanket.

I was going to also give away 2 more sets of twin sheets, 1 twin blanket & 2 twin mattress pads, but then I realized that a) Georgia will be moving to a twin bed sometime in the future and I could use one of each of those and b) since we're still in the years of possible bed wetting it would be good to have one or two extra on hand in case two kids have accidents on the same night.

I also kept: 1 Queen blanket, 1 set Queen flannel sheets, 2 sets Queen sheets (plus I have one on my bed - may be a bit excessive so I'm going to think about giving away one more set), 1 twin comforter (in case of vomit emergencies), 2 sets twin sheets, 2 twin blankets, 2 twin mattress pads, several pillow cases, 4 extra pillows. My closet now looks like this:

When I was in junior high or high school my mom taught me how to fold fitted sheets. Taking a look at that closet... I'm so happy she did:) Thanks mom!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Potty training =

unsuccessful. Back to diapers.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I hate potty training.

Thats all.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

on the mend

First, I want to declare how much I love my new blog template. It makes me happy - very, very happy. And I often just visit my blog to see the lovely new look. Seriously, it makes me happy.

Last week totally sucked. Really - sucked:) Ryann had the atypical chicken pox that never developed into anything more than the few spots on her face. They never hurt or itched. She never seemed to be uncomfortable or even sick - but she had to stay inside and away from anyone else. Normally this would be fine, but...

I felt like I had been run over by a truck for most of last week. Sore throat started Tuesday night (which has been described perfectly by One Hot Momma as a "serrated knife running through my throat"). Wednesday the fever aches with no fever started along with a lingering headache. Thursday added the fun of light headedness and a wash of black every time I stood up. It was all wonderful and I didn't take a shower for two days and only got off of the couch if I had to. I watched soap operas because the tv I was watching didn't have cable - and I was completely clueless about any of it. I played mind-numbing computer games. I hoped that Ryann and Georgia were not cutting an arm off with a scissors that I thought I had put away but failed to (just a hypothetical example, of course), or starting the house on fire (a real possibility with an unsupervised Georgia). I denied that I had strep throat because I didn't have a fever.

Thursday night Cornbread brought me to the urgent care center where I was diagnosed with Strep Throat. So much for my uninformed, uneducated self-diagnosis. One dose of antibiotics later and I was feeling a little better. By Friday night I was feeling much better, but still tired.

In addition, Georgia began to complain of an earache on Thursday. But seriously, and I'm kind of embarassed to admit this... I simply did not have the energy, motivation or will to bring her to the doctor so I just hoped it would go away. Friday same thing. Saturday morning she complained that the other ear hurt so I called and got her an appointment with Dr. Hottie right away. I'm thinking - more ear infections. Dr. Hottie has been monitoring her for frequent ear infections and possible ear tubes for a while now and I wasn't looking forward to this conversation... but it was strep. So she was quarentined, too. Another set of antibiotics. And hope that they would put an end to the absolute, horrifying, never-ending screaming tantrums that had been ocurring over the previous couple of days.

So it is Wednesday and we are all on the mend. Ryann's chicken pox spots have been gone for a couple of days already. Georgia's tantrums have stopped. I am feeling better, but not quite 100% - what is the deal with this? I go to sleep around 10:30 and at 6:30 I feel like I have hardly slept. By 3pm I want to curl up and take a nap. Last night I had a sore throat again. And I have not missed a dose of my antibiotics. Mostly, I feel good - just really tired. When did I become so old?

I have so much to blog about... tomorrow begins our first attempt at potty training with Georgia, two weeks ago Cornbread and I went on a tour of haunted Chicago and I have pictures and stories, I'm reading a great book called, "Sex God" by Rob Bell, pictures of the girls etc. etc. Stay tuned - or at least visit just to brighten your day with my new template:)

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