Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A December to Remember

Hello? Is there anyone out there? Does anyone still read this blog? I have so neglected this little part of my world and now I'm circling back to make amends for my abandonment.

So, I titled this blog "A December to Remember", but we're going to be remembering this December for a variety of reasons- I'll start with the reasons that make my heart heavy first.

On Sunday, December 20th, my dad had a stroke. The stroke has taken the man that I've known for 33 years and transformed him. There are many daily struggles he faces, many things we've always taken for granted that he's now trying to figure out- like eating with the "wrong" hand and walking and reading a newspaper. The doctors say he's a great candidate for therapy and Dad has been working hard; we've seen him improve and make great strides.

In the midst of our upheaval surrounding my dad, our family was dealt another blow. My grandmother, my Mom's mom, suffered a massive stroke on Christmas Eve and went home to be with the Lord on Christmas day. My family was shocked and grief stricken and my mother- I still don't know how my mother held herself together. We traveled to Oklahoma to celebrate my Mama Reba's life. Her house was full of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren and amid the tears their was lots of laughter- I know that she would've enjoyed the laughter.  I feel so blessed that my children got to know her and she got to know them, and I know that Mama Reba loved Harper and Jack. The last time we saw her (I wish I had taken more pictures), she thanked me for sharing my children with her. I am thankful my children will have pictures and precious memories of a wonderful  woman who taught me so much about how to live a graceful life.

To say that December was an emotional roller coaster would be an extreme understatement. I don't know how we made it through the last month, but somehow we did. Our month wasn't all sorrow filled; we had plenty of reasons to smile and things to celebrate- let me give you a run down of things that we're thankful for that have kept us hopeful...

1. We are thankful for movies. Harper and Jack got to go see their first movie in December- The Peanuts Movie.  Before the movie even started, Harper was asking to go home and Jack was covering his ears- the previews were very loud, but once the movie started, they settled down. Harper moved from lap to lap snuggling and giggling at the movie. Jack moved from lap to lap consuming candy and popcorn and belly laughing at Snoopy. A good time was had by all :)

2. We are thankful for warm days in December and parks to play and run. We took advantage of some outside time to go for walks, and play at the park down the street. These two had Tony and I laughing- I can't get enough of them playing together. We also got to take the kids to the "big" park right after Christmas and we got to explore the whole thing- not just the toddler area. The kids had a great time going down the great big slides and swinging on the swings.

3. We are thankful for all the Christmas events we participated in this year which included a night out with friends in our city to look at the Christmas lights around the square. Jack and Harper were especially excited about the "light saber swords" Tony bought them. Harper and Jack rounded out the night with their first Starbuck's hot chocolates- yum! We also went to Sundance Square for my Aunt Becky's birthday and the kids had a great time walking around looking at decorations and people watching.

4. We are thankful for silly moments in the midst of grief. The antlers were a hit with Harper (we couldn't get them off of her) and I got to show off some of my cooking skills on Christmas Eve (I also almost slipped and fell in those silly heels).  After Christmas we had a tornado that hit a nearby city and our tornado sirens went off. Harper put together an outfit she though was appropriate for the weather. Jack and I also took a funny snapshot one night as he was getting out of the tub- little silly man.

5. We are thankful for lazy days and pajamas and vegging out in front of the tv- we had plenty of those moments when the kids got sick (with strep throat and non-stop coughing). The illnesses forced us to slow down a little bit and forced all of us to take some time to get much needed rest.

6. We are thankful for Christmas morning and the little voices that filled our house with glee- the little voices who didn't know to be sad, so they kept us happy and laughing. It was so fun to see the kids come running out of their room; they had no idea what to do- Harper even stood there looking at the gifts with her mouth hanging open. Jack, however, jumped right in and soon both kids were looking at the gifts Santa brought them (a t-shirt for Jack and Buzz Lightyear and Woody, and a stuffed owl for Harper and a Disney princess castle). The kids were also quick to catch on to the whole "unwrapping gifts" thing and soon our house looked like a toy store.

7. We are thankful for family. Papa came up for Christmas and was such a big help. Prayers poured in from family members and everyone stepped up to help with Dad, travel to Oklahoma, and offer support. Family also kept us laughing, kept our chins up, and kept us moving forward.

8. We are thankful for our spotted dog, Abby. She has been such a good go with the flow dog, and she's gotten me out of the house for walks and runs- life wouldn't be the same without her.

So, that was our December- more or less. 2015 had some great moments; it certainly brought us so many things to be thankful for and to celebrate, but 2015 did not end well for us, and we are ready to see what 2016 has in store. Up next...3 year olds! Stay tuned for a birthday post (of sorts) and updates on the twins.
Sword Fight!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Collett house has been very thankful this Thanksgiving: we are thankful for our family that we got to see over Thanksgiving break, we are thankful for the family that we didn't get to see, but held close in our hearts, we are thankful for safe travels, good food, and especially patience and grace as Tony and I took on the challenge of traveling with two sick little ones.

But, first let me back up a little bit and fill you in our November. We spent most of the month, or so it seems, dealing with some type of sickness: Harper got a stomach bug that lasted over a week, Jack also had a turn with the stomach bug, and I was the last one to get the stomach yuck (after the kids were well and ready to play) while Tony was out of town- thank the Lord for Durinda who was a big help. My stomach bug also lasted a week and left me feeling pretty miserable going into Thanksgiving break. We did, however, manage to get some cute pictures of the kiddos hanging out amid all the stomach yuck...

They tried on hats and Harper even found the energy to dance around

 We took the kids to dinner one night when they were feeling better- we thought. Tony had a little snuggle bug...

They played doctor (very fitting)

 We made a trip to the grocery store- Harper had to have her bag with her and this is what she did when I asked her to say "cheese!"

The Tuesday before Thanksgiving (two days after I started eating food again- not just rice and chicken broth), Harper started to get a runny nose. Tony and I knew with this girl that our best bet is to start treat symptoms early and often, so at the  first sign of a cough Wednesday morning, I had her on her nebulizer as I packed to leave town.

The kids did great on the ride to Uncle Bubba's farm, and were very excited to play with their cousins before bed. Tony and I were hopeful we could get the kids down to bed and all get a good night's rest...that was not to be.  Jack woke up around 11:30 coughing and crying; he and I ended up sharing a twin sized blow up mattress.

Needless to say, we were not all well-rested for Thanksgiving day, but we made the most of it. The dinner was fantastic, the kids had a great time playing all day, and took good naps. Harper even took her mask without complaint and the kids made some dinner for us as well :)

The day ended for me like this: kids in bed, glass of wine, and gluten free pumpkin pie made by my awesome husband. I was very thankful Thanksgiving went well.

Friday the weather, which was predominately rainy, dried up momentarily and the kids got to see the cows before we headed out. Harper then ran around announcing that she wanted to see "more animals!"  Our trip to the farm involved a little more coughing and sick kid issues than we had hoped, but overall we had a great Thanksgiving and we can't wait to see the Colletts again.

Saturday we went to Nana and Pop's house to see our "big cousins" and spend some time with Nana and Pop, Uncle Tanner, and Great Granny. We always have fun when we're together and Saturday was no exception. Harper and Sloane played great together and Jack followed Wyatt around declaring "Wyatt, you're my friend!"

While we were there, we also tried our hand at a family photo using the timer on the iPhone. Here's our best picture; please take note of Jack's little face- what a silly boy!

Sunday was our last day before Tony and I headed back to work and we spent the afternoon putting up the Christmas tree and decorations. Jack was beside himself exclaiming "I decorated the Christmas tree!!" each time he put on an ornament. Harper also got into the act putting on ornaments and telling Jack not to touch the tree. I wish I would have taken some pictures, but Tony and I spent most of our time rearranging the four or five ornaments hung all on the same branch, or trying to make sure no one stepped on a ornament hanger- it was a little bit of chaos.

We are also embarking on our first year of Elf on the Shelf. Our little elf has been named Noel (despite the other naming nominations of "Owl" by Harper and "Santa Claus" by Jack), and Noel observes each day and then flies to Santa each night to report on Jack and Harper's behavior. They have spent the last two mornings getting up to hunt for the elf- Jack said "where is that silly old elf!?" and they run to say goodnight to Noel (and the Christmas tree) before bed each night.

I have no idea what December holds for us, but I'm hoping that we will all be in better health and can enjoy the holidays. Before I close for tonight, I have to give a nod to two important things that happened on this day:

On this day 2 years ago, Harper and Jack were baptized. They did great and our family was there to support the kids and celebrate.

On this day 7 years ago, we welcomed our little four-legger, Abby. Our family wouldn't be complete without Abby and as I type this, she is curled up beside me. This girl has been through many ups and downs with us, and she was thrust into the role of "sister" without having any say, but she has been loyal and loving to us every step of the way. Deciding to adopt Abby 7 years ago is one of he best decisions we ever made- we love you, Abs!