Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Saddest Birthday Girl

Happy Birthday, Miss Rowan! I wish you looked this happy today on your big seventh birthday. I wish you were getting ready to have all your girlfriends over for your "Girls Day Out" party at 11:30. I wish that you were bursting with anticipation about opening your pretty packages. I wish...I wish...I wish...that you were all better.

But instead, you are the saddest birthday girl today. Today, you are battling your sinus infection or whatever it is and your pediatricians keep calling to check on you. I just got off the phone with them again and emailed them this picture. They want you to come back in again today for another check.

Is this the saddest birthday girl you've ever seen or what? I love you, Rowan. Thanks for letting me be your mom and giving me this opportunity to take care of you. You've been melting my heart lately...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

She's a Wreck

Our little soon-to-be seven year old, Rowan Sue, is a wreck. She's had quite the week. It started a week ago Monday. She came home from her cousin Lily's birthday party and collapsed on our living room floor at 7:15. She was out like a light in about 30 seconds. The next day, the fever started and she had some minor cold symptoms. Then it was low grade fevers off and on for the next couple of days, general lethargy, weak appetite. She rallied a bit on Thursday and early Friday, but on Christmas Eve night, she was fading again. We noticed a cold sore forming on her sweet lips.

She opened her presents on Christmas with little enthusiasm. She did manage to eek out a couple of smiles that day, but she was far from her typical self. By the time we got home from our day's worth of visiting late Christmas night, she was wiped out and had another cold sore forming. I had no idea what they were from. None of our family has ever had cold sores before. Sunday she went through the normal motions and was unusually quiet. No smiles. Wouldn't eat more than a couple of bites at any meal. We all spent Monday together doing errands, and stuff around the house, and ended the daylight hours at the church parking lot trying to get Easton to ride his bike (which he did, by the way, but not without some tears from the "big" fall).

Rowan was miserable yesterday afternoon and evening. Teary, emotional, tired, sickly looking. I was getting really worried about her, then the fever hit hard. She started complaining that her head hurt and her eyes looked so sick. She took some Motrin and Ryan and Bob gave her a blessing last night. She broke out her first smile in two days about a half hour later. She and I got on the internet and started researching "how to treat a cold sore" and then I headed to CVS to consult with the pharmacist. I came home with a couple of topical things for her lips and then she hit the hay.

Awake at 4:00 am, totally crying and holding her head. Telling me it felt like someone was poking a pencil in her eye and pounding on her head. Miserable. More Motrin for the fever. At 7:00 am, her eye was swelling and getting red, one of the "danger signs" to watch for (per the trusty internet) when you get cold sores, because if they spread to the eye, it can lead to blindness. YIKES! At 7:55, we started calling Mesa Pediatrics and finally got through a little after 8:00. By the time we got to their office at 9:00, her left eye was swelling more and looking worse by the minute. The docs huddled for a pow wow and we got a second opinion. Not looking good. No, really?

Then came the referral to the pediatric opthamologist. She slept for four hours straight between doctor visits and wouldn't eat a thing. Thankfully, the eye doc did a full exam and found no "herpetic legions" on her eye, which is fantastic, but said that he believes she has a serious bacterial sinus infection simultaneous with the fever blisters, the combination of which is making Rowan miserable. He started her on antibiotics. I am generally against them, but we conceded as her infection appeared to be advancing quickly and is dangerously close to her brain and eye. Rowan hasn't been to the doctor in years (literally). We might have had one other visit by one kid this past year, but I'm not even sure about that. We are a pretty healthy clan.

At 9:45 tonight, she said she was feeling somewhat better, the fever had gone down, but the swelling seems to be getting a little worse. I've been taking pictures to track it. The pediatrician has called our house twice already to check on her. They are all a little worried, right along with me, as she looks so bad. She's sleeping now, as I should be, and I pray that those tiny chewable pills will work their magic and get to her infection fast.

Tomorrow is Rowan's birthday. We had to contact all her little girlfriends and let them know her "Girls Day Out" party was cancelled. So sad. But she's in no shape for guests. We'll just have to reschedule once she's on the mend, which I pray is ever so soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Five More Days

The countdown is on. Five more days...

I have most of my wrapping still to do.
I think I still have a couple of small things to pick up, but I need to check my list.
Then check it twice.
But only one more work day this week, then I'm off for a week.
How sweet is that?
When I come back, I only work one day next week.
Then one day the week after that.
Then on to Utah for a little ski vaca and wedding action.
I'm super stoked.
Four work days in three weeks.
I could get used to that.
I think.

The kids are giddy about Christmas. They've been negotiating the waking time for the big day. I'm saying 7:00, but they've got the push on for 6:30. I might give in.

No one has tried to guess their reindeer name yet, but that's probably because there aren't very many packages under the tree yet. We've got Dasher and Cupid and Comet and Blitzen this year. I'm hoping that tonight or tomorrow night will be "the night" where I stay up wrapping until the wee hours. There's always gotta be one of those. Every year I swear that I'll "wrap as I go", but it never happens. Why break tradition now?

We had a great busy week last week. Relief Society progressive dinner, Rowan's 1st grade Christmas program, Easton's kindergarten program, Barrett & Afton's piano recital's and donut fry, Easton's gingerbread house decorating at school, the Ward Party and all the prep for that, a wedding reception, a bridal shower, some good runs, two birthday parties, Barrett's Christmas party at Katy's, Christmas open house at our new neighbor's Saturday night, a wonderful church service with lots of Christmas music and great speakers, and a special dinner at Mike & Shari's and FHE last night.


The ward Christmas breakfast turned out so fun. Great food, festive decorations, good music, spectacular ward friends and neighbors! And Santa came with all his bells and glory and the children were thrilled. What a fun day we had. It was my last gig as the ward activities director. Someone else will get to lead the charge for next year's parties. I'm moving on and settling into my new jobs as the ward music chairperson and RS teacher. I think I'm gonna really like both of the new callings. This Sunday is my second lesson and I've now officially joined the choir. I sang in it on Sunday and I have to say that it was actually really fun. The musical talent in our ward is amazing. Amazing.

I must confess, I'm pretty excited for this week too. In case I don't make it back to blog before Christmas, Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monopoly & Bunks

Last night at the Brown house...

Ryan and the girls played a marathon game (two actually) of Afton's new "Build It Monopoly" game that she got for her birthday. It's been updated for modern times. Boardwalk and Park Place have been replaced with the new hip "districts", and you can no longer procure a piece of real estate for $380. Nope, we're talking millions now. The small bill in the bank is $10k. Some things cost upwards of $7 million. There are new hazards like power plants and sewer stations and prisons to diminish the value of your properties and make them "unrentable." You can build industrial or residential. You can pay $1 million to the planning and zoning department and get perks.

Yep, it's Monopoly for the present day. And our kids are diggin' it.

Meanwhile, the two youngers colored more Christmas pictures to add to our already fantastic display of kid art covering the office french doors. And they colored and fully assembled their very own "dream" book using the stash of scratch paper we keep handy for just such crafty occasions. Truly, I was impressed. Each page, illustrated by Easton and narrated by Rowan, expressed things they dream about in pretty amazing detail. Things like chocolate and monsters and Christmas morning and camp outs and bunk beds...

Ahhhh...that brings us to the newest addition to the Brown house. Yes, we got new furniture for Easton's room. Actually, it is now Easton and Rowan's room, and Afty Cakes is beyond stoked to finally get her own room. Rowan & Easton are sharing the new bunks - a twin over full number - plus two new dressers and a cool ladder desk. Their room looks super sharp and they are seriously loving it. All the kids are really. There's something a little magical about bunks. Kids are drawn to them. I about died day one just trying to sheet them up. I broke two nails and skinned my hand. Broke into a full sweat by the time I was done climbing up and down, moving the dang ladder back and forth. Lifting the mattresses. Tuck here, tuck there. Heaven help them to not wet their beds. I don't think I can handle sheet changing more than every few weeks.

But they're great for forts. Most of our linen closet has already toured their room in the tent parade in just three short days. Barrett has managed to sneak in the last two nights to sleep with Easton on the bottom full size bed under the guise that "she forgot to put clean sheets on her bed." Um, hummm....

So the bunks are a hit. We still have some rearranging to do in Afty's room now that she's minus one extra full sized bed. It feels enormous. Hopefully, the troops will be happy in their new digs, and Rowan won't make Easton crazy with her...her, um, everything. Messiness, 'tude, sassy pants. We'll see. So far, so good.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Afty...many moons ago

In celebration of Afton this week, I just thought I'd post a handful of retro pics from her early days. These ones made me smile.

I remember this snow trip vividly. It was Afton's first time tubing up in Flagstaff, and she was amazing. She'd just turned four, but I swear she hiked up the big hill 100 times, over and over and over, and would just fly down with no fear. It was so fun to watch.

Afton with her baby sister, Rowan, back when we lived in our Gilbert house. Almost seven years ago now since this one was taken. Holy cow.

Afton has always wanted to be what she wanted to be for Halloween. Never really open to suggestions. Never what I thought she should be. She just knows. When she was almost three, she was super into the Blue Clues show. Hence, she wanted to be Blue, the main dog, which I thought was a little wierd, but then again, Blue is a girl on the show. But then she dressed up like Scooby Doo a couple years later (when Barrett was Daphne.)

Tonight we were at Water & Ice for our FHE treats after decorating Grandpa Reid's Christmas tree. Afty ordered her absolute favorite: a scoop of chocolate ice cream in a waffle cone. Her face looked just like this tonight. Really. That's just how she eats it. I think it must taste better when you go at it full bore, no regard for the chocolate mustache (or beard for that matter). Too funny.

Our awesome little Afton Kate. Our only brown-eyed kid. GC affectionately refers to her as her "Brown-Eyed Beauty" and I couldn't agree more.

My Newest Double Digit Kid

Here she is.
Miss Afton Kate Brown.
Code name "Afty Cakes."
She's newly ten.
Ten and fabulous, that is.

We enjoyed Sunday dinner at our house to celebrate with the family. Grandma Cheri made this killer giant cupcake using her new handy dandy pan. It was the maiden voyage for the oversized delight and it turned out great. Aunt Jayme brought her famous homemade cheesecake too, and it did not disappoint.

Grandma Cindy & Grandpa Steve bought Afton a new hoodie (which she is sporting here and which she has been wearing non-stop since she opened it on Saturday morning.) She also got a new pair of Vans, thanks to the lean mean shopping machine, also known as GC, or Grandma Cindy, who hit two Journeys, two Tilly's, one Van's store, and who knows how many others until she could finally procure the must-have style that Afty fell in love with. Sadly, they were too big, so we're hoping to find a half size smaller this week.

Grandma Cheri & Grandpa Bob scored with a new Build It Monopoly game and an inside smore maker with all the fixins. I'm sure that will be a huge hit in our house.

On Saturday, Afton's actual birthday, we all had a blast at Afty's cosmic bowling party at Brunswick. She invited five girlfriends for some cosmic bowling, pizza, and some arcade fun. It was such a score for me too, since all we had to do was show up and let the party hostess take over. No prep, no extra house cleaning, no game planning, no cooking. I just had to drive. And pay. What a screamin' deal. I'm thinking I like that kind of party...I like it a lot...Plus I got to bowl and did pretty dang good if I do say so myself. I bowled a mean 152, although that still wasn't enough to pass Grandma Cindy, who scored in the 170's. But then again, she is a bowling pro and bowled three games in her new Friday morning bowling league the day before. Yes, GC just filled the fourth spot on a team and joined a bowling league with a few of her good friends, and I am really excited for her. She hasn't bowled on a league since I was a little girl, but she's always loved it.

Riley, Barrett, Lily, Afton, Kelly & Sydney at the party

Easton had too much fun bowling, but he also loved playing some air hockey with his daddy afterwards. I'm not sure who was having more fun...Easton or Dad.

Happy Birthday my sweet Afton. We love you so much. Thanks for being a remarkable girl. Funny as heck, so sporty, beautiful voice, truly creative, ultra smart, super obedient, and good to the core. What would we do without you? I can hardly believe you're a double digit kid now. Oh, where did the time go?