Baby It's Christmas

Anyone else in a post-Christmas coma?

Our Christmas Day was full to the brim with family love and traveling and newborn snuggles and gift exchanges and birthday candles and gender reveals.  I've never felt such a potent combination of wanting to cry from joy and collapse from exhaustion.

And even though I was barely able to open my eyes today, I'm in full holiday mourning.  A whole 365 days until Christmas?  No, I'm in tinsel-covered denial.  Grammy, Camden, and I sang carols all the way home from the decked-out mall tonight while watching for blow-up Santas and snowmen.  We will be stretching Christmas out into next weekend.

 I'm writing with one hand while the other strokes the silky hair of my sweet newborn nephew, who is blinking up at the white lights of the tree.  Babies are awesome.  I am so in love with this boy already.

Loving on this little guy is making me all the more excited for our own new addition.  So let's derail from the holiday hubbub to talk about the very beginnings of our little girl's story.  (Still can't believe she's a girl!!)

It was September and I bought the pregnancy test against my better judgement.  They had proven to be nothing but heartbreaking negatives every time, and I knew it was going to be the same.  We'd learned that being a few days late means very little for us.

So my friend Madelyn was over in the afternoon, and our boys were running around in the backyard.  I waited until Madelyn was distracted and went out after them when I grabbed the test and stole to the bathroom to get my negative.  You know, just to stop thinking about it and have that final and undeniable NO once again.  Rarely did I tell Roy when I was testing or if I ever had hopes because I saw no point in dragging him down.  Infertility hurt him just as much as it hurt me.

These things were running through my head when I did a double take at the test.  
Two lines.  
TWO LINES!  
TWO LINES!!!!  


My heart got caught up in this whirlwind of euphoria and I felt like I was floating up after it, ready to burst I was so filled with pure joy.  I thought I'd never come down.

At some point I remembered Madelyn was out there with all three kids and thought I better go out and help.  But I didn't want to say anything to anyone before I talked to Roy.  After giving myself a minute to compose myself, trying to suppress the unsurpressable smile, I came skipping down the hallway.  Like, literally skipping. 
Oops.

The minute I locked eyes with Madelyn that smile just exploded right out and I screamed, 
"I'M PREGNANT!!!!!!!!"  
Oops.

She screamed, I screamed, we wrapped our arms around each other and jumped up and down and screamed, laughing with a little bit of crying.  For an hour we were broken records, "I can't believe it!  Pregnant!"  And together we tried to come up with a cute way I could share the happy news with Roy.

That night when Roy got home I was standing at the front door with my phone on record.  I asked him to hold out his hand, and in his open palm I placed a poppyseed.  

"What's this?"

"That's the size of your baby right now!"

Roy lit up like never before.  All the celebrating was caught on video, but I neglected to take a picture.  It was such a special and unbelievable moment for us.  Even though I thought we should wait to tell Camden, Roy simply couldn't hold it in.  And considering my own initial reaction with Madelyn, I really couldn't blame him.

Camden immediately and cooly informed us that it would be a little sister.

When it was time to share the news with our families we decided to have Camden help.


(Every Pirate Needs a First Mate!  Mine Arrives 5/2016)

Roy's mom read the shirt aloud over FaceTime, which was really fun hearing everyone's reactions at once.  My own parents didn't notice the shirt for a painfully long time, but when they finally did there was much rejoicing.  Leah guessed what was up before she noticed the shirt, and proceeded to wish twins upon me.  All the while Camden seemed more and more unsure about what was really going on, but we knew we had plenty of time to better prepare him.

It was nigh impossible to wait for week 13 to tell all of our friends.  But when we did, the outpouring of love was overwhelming.  We have such an amazing and supportive tribe.


This pregnancy has been quite different from Camden's.  I started out pretty dependent upon Ginger Ale, but then moved on to only the occasional migraine.  The weight has been piling on differently, and I felt the baby start moving much earlier and much much more frequently.

And then there was the gender reveal!  Buuuut that's a story for another night.  The post-Christmas coma is strong.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good ... 
zzzzzzz... zzzzzzz... zzzz...

Roy Returns to Newport

No one was more excited for our Thanksgiving trip than Roy.  It was all he talked about for a week leading up to our flight into Portland.  Thanks to school and work, he hadn't been back to his hometown in 2 1/2 years!  And even though Camden and I had visited without him, we were stoked too.  I've said this a thousand times on this blog, but the Oregon coast is just the coolest, most unique place.


It also has some of the greatest people in it.



But I must add, Newport is deceivingly cold in November.  Ok?  You absolutely must visit this place, but if it's November, pack a parka.  I grossly under packed warm clothing for my little family.  Oh, I also grossly under packed pants for myself.  Pants.  The only thing I had to wear on my legs were the stretchy pants I wore on the airplane.  Why?  I have no idea.  Apparently pants are not important to me.

Pretty sure Roy saw it as a ploy to get my shopping on, but sadly I really am just that air-headed these days.  Pregnancy sucks away my brain power.  I can blame it on that, right?  Is there a pregnancy card limit?

Pants or no pants, we were bound for a fun time with Grandma and Grandpa.  It got even more exciting when the Carpenters showed up.  Camden and Danny Jay are such buds.  It's so fun to watch their little budding relationship, which we all determined will someday soon be full of mischievous adventure.


When they were babies nine months seemed like such a large age gap, but it's a gap that's closing quickly.  Danny required almost no help scampering after Cam.



… and vice versa.


Of course we all spent a day at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.



How is this the only picture I took of my sweet baby nephew and niece?  The weekend went way too fast.




{In memory of the eel I almost kicked in the face on our honeymoon.}




Then of course there was the beach and exploring.




Camden found these slimy seaweed "snakes" up on the dry sand and was determined that they be released back into the ocean.  Thing is, these beaches are huge.  The journey from sand dunes to the crashing sea foam is no small jaunt--pack your hiking shoes, since we're making a list.  And pants, did I mention you should pack pants?

The distance didn't deter Camden for a second.  He was on a mission.



Roy said he remembered doing the same thing as a kid, toting seaweed behind him for various missions.  He threw the stuff out into the water, showing Cam how it's done.



Later we were lucky enough to see the spouting horn on an exceptionally powerful day with a high tide.  The pictures don't do it justice -- there was water spewing forty feet in the air!  From what I remember reading on the little plaque, the blow hole is formed through erosion of the lava rock.  You basically end up with a lava tube that opens straight up to the sky, and water explodes out of that opening when the waves hit just right.  It was like oceanic fireworks!  Roy said the huge blast of water has been known to splash onto the road alongside it.


Through all of our coastal adventures, our favorite thing to do was to spend time with family.  Camden couldn't be more in love with his grandparents.


We were also happy to have Aunt Kelsey there.  She spoiled Cam rotten with the attention, and soon they had inside jokes and handshakes.  In fact, just today when I gave him a plain old knuckles he corrected me, "You gotta do 'fie-yeh'!"  (Wriggles his fingers like Kelsey taught him.)

With the gracious combined efforts of Kelsey and the grandparents, Roy and I got some movie dates in.  There was Camden's birthday, which I mentioned in a previous post, and a day trip to visit friends in Salem.  Then of course there was Thanksgiving dinner, during which I took absolutely no pictures.  Lately I've learned that in some moments being present it more important than capturing it.  I'm a slow learner.  

Of course the food was great, and the already fantastic company was made even better with the arrival of Sue, Jay, and Justin.  I loved that it was kept casual, personal, and stress-free.  The perfect holiday.

Even though the trip revolved around Thanksgiving, the meal I remember best was actually pizza on a random night.  But let me tell you, it was the best pizza I've ever had in my life.  I've been craving it ever since.  

Jalepeño popper pizza!  (Drool!)

Halfway through my first heavenly piece I bit into a particularly juicy jalepeño, which promptly squirted it's fire juice right into my eyeball.  Oh, the pain.  I rushed to the bathroom and tried to rinse out my eye quickly so I could get back to that pizza!  And I had two more pieces after that.  Worth the pain and the smeared demon mascara look.

Hmm… what other memorable things shall I mention?  This is the problem with writing weeks after the fact.  Hmm… I remember the little twins just melting hearts all day long, can't forget about that.  I remember Dennis taking us on a tour of the jail--super interesting.  I remember Leah, Laura, and I chatting late into the night while Leah did my hair for me--she's awesome.  I remember Roy yelling at me to stop leading Camden into poison ivy--clueless desert rat over here.  

I remember every day was epic for this little explorer.   



Thanks, Buckmasters, for being awesome.  Couldn't ask for better in-laws.  (Also, I'm looking forward to seeing some of these pictures with Kelsey and Kirsten photoshopped into them.  Let's put them on a unicorn.)


Camden is 3!

Holding our new baby that warm November night, I tried to imagine what he would be like as a kid.  I stared at his tiny newborn features and just couldn't imagine it.  What would his voice sound like?  What would his favorite game be?  What color would those eyes settle into?

Answers: a) Raspy but with a high-pitched, shrill laugh.
b) Cars, which carry on conversations and enjoy driving to the park to go down the slide.  (There is almost always an ouchie that a "car doctor" rushes to fix.)
c) Handsome hazel, just like his daddy.

It's crazy to look back at how much he has grown and learned since that first day, three years ago.  The dimpled hands and squishy kankles of babyhood are gone without a trace, and now this boy has opinions, observations, and an imagination to boot.  It all happened so smoothly and yet so suddenly. I'm quite sure it's impossible to explain.

On the big day we were in Newport visiting Roy's side of the family.  We went out for dinner and the sweet waitress surprised all of us with a little birthday sundae.  Camden would have been happy if we stuck a lit candle in a sponge - he just wanted us to sing to him and blow out the candle - so he was in Heaven with the added treat.


There's a lot more to write about Newport, but I'll get back to that in a another post.  Onward to Camden's "green car" birthday party (and the end of my imagined career as a cake decorator)!


Now that Cam is officially a kid with opinions, he was very specific about his birthday theme.  It wasn't just a car party, okay?  It was a green car party.  

We were thrilled to have my parents in town to help execute such a specific theme.  Really, I don't think I could ever throw a party without my mom, the party expert.





It was a blast to have so many fun little friends running around, not all of whom happened to run in the right direction to join this picture.  Camden had this smile plastered on his face almost the whole time.


And again the Happy Birthday song and candle-blowing was the main event for this dude.  Even though a breeze blew out the flames during the song that didn't stop him from dutifully breathing all over the cake at the end.



Always the comedian.




This boy was so showered in fun books and toys he didn't know what to do with himself!  I loved how interested all of his buddies were, too.  At this age there is truly nothing more exciting than new toys.

Happy birthday, little monster.  You are thoughtful, helpful, kind, always trying to make others laugh, and very particular about lining up your cars.  You're inquisitive, imaginative, and still pretty generous with your hugs and snuggles.  You've always tried to be obedient, although I swear you woke up on your third birthday and decided it was high time to test the boundaries.  We're going to have fun with that, I'm sure.

No matter what, we love you.

Zac+Jess

Ladies and gents, I am happy to introduce to you the newest married couple in the Collett family: 
Zac + Jess.


The wedding happened back in August, but I didn't want to post anything until I had some of the lovely professional pictures by Natalie Atkinson.



August 29th began rainy.  All of the guests and wedding party were huddled under the porch waiting for a break in the clouds so the ceremony could begin.  I think we heard the words "rain, wedding day, good luck," thrown around all evening.  And for rain to cool off an Arizona August... I mean, it doesn't get much luckier than that.

The sun peeked out at the perfect moment, chairs were dried, and everyone took their seats.  Meanwhile, Camden the ring bearer is inside having a meltdown.  Not a fan of bowties, we learned.  I didn't think Camden would recover in time, and another sweet little boy was ready to act as his replacement.  Then my uncle Rod swept Camden out of my arms and said, "Give me thirty seconds."

At that point we bridesmaids and groomsmen had our cue to walk to the front, so Roy and I wished Rod good luck and headed outside.

We were lined up at the front when lo and behold... 


The cutest little ring bearer I ever did see.


His eyes may be a little puffy, but whatever Rod bribed him with, it worked!  And apparently he told Camden to walk very slowly, and the little dude took that job very seriously.  Oh, my heart!


The ceremony was sweet and simple.  Shortly thereafter we had toasts, cake, music, dancing, food, all the classic signs of a wedding gone great. 



But it was the after party where things really got crazy.
I'm laughing just thinking about it, and already realize that this is something where "ya had to be there."  But someday when I look back I'm going to be glad I posted about it.

The food was packed up, the guests were gone, Zac and Jess were off on their honeymoon, and the family that remained pulled shoes off of sore feet and collapsed into chairs.

My siblings and I have always had this joke: we don't drink, but we don't need to drink to be crazy.  Who knows how the laughing got started, but it escalated quickly.  Soon Mason, Alexa and I busted out DubSmash.  It' an app where you basically lip sync movie quotes.  Can I just say, no humans on earth make facial expressions as hilarious as these two.  I mean, I was dying.

We chose Jim Carrey quotes which, if you know my family at all, you know this man single-handedly shaped our senses of humor in our growing-up years.  We probably made 15 of these kinds of things:


And that's the least embarrassing of all the videos we took.

Siblings are the best.  There's no one else in the world you can be quite so weird around, or who gets your humor so well, or thinks you are as funny as you think you are.



Right now the three of us live in different states, in different stages of life, but keeping in touch isn't a problem.  When we get together (especially to quote Jim Carrey) it's like no time has passed at all.


Shout out to Zac, who didn't completely miss out on the DubSmash fun that weekend.


Speaking of siblings, I have a new sister!  Jess loves Zac a ton, and makes him happier than I could have imagined him being.  So happy to welcome her into the crazy family.


Crazy but good.

Long-Awaited Dream

The news is out, people!  Out in the wide open air, and I couldn't be more relieved to share it with you.  
We're expecting!!!!

Our long-awaited dream is due to arrive May 15th.  They say the second pregnancy goes by faster than the first, but that hasn't been true for us.  Maybe it's because we've wanted this for so long.

Let's talk about life plans, shall we?

When I was little I thought my mom had the coolest job in the world.  I remember thinking, "When I grow up I want to be a mom.  But instead of cleaning the house I'm just going to play with my kids all day long."  What a dreamer!

But an image was there in my mind, and it never left me.  It was an image of a family similar to the one I grew up in--children with super close birthdays, close enough that they all wanted to play the same games, have the same interests.  

As I grew older the image may have shifted a little as far as number of children or names I liked (I won't even tell you the girl names I scribbled in my 6th grade journal!) but one thing stayed constant: kids born close together.  I had it in my mind that if they were born close together, they would BE close.  

My sister and brother were my best friends as a kid.  My childhood was awesome.  So early on I created a map for my own future family, and thought it would be simple to follow it.

Then I learned that life maps need to be drawn in pencil.

Two years isn't a long time in the world of infertility.  I have friends who waited much longer.  I have friends who waited much longer and never got the chance to experience pregnancy and birth.  And all the while going to endless doctor's appointments with endless tests, and taking medications or poking themselves with needles.  Not to mention the monthly, heart-crushing disappointment.

In the world of infertility we are lucky!  Well, in any world we are lucky.  So, so lucky.  I get to be a mom again!  It's more amazing, more vibrant and beautiful than I ever could have seen in some map.


In this new plan, I'm seeing the perks and the positive way things are falling perfectly into place.  Camden will be exactly 3 1/2 when our Little Bean is born.  How great is that?  First of all, he's old enough to understand what's going on.  He's excited and proud that he will be a big brother.  He likes to help the doctor with the doppler to find the baby's heartbeat.  He likes to show off the ultrasound picture.  Experiencing this with him is a magic I never realized existed!

Then there's the fact that he will be old enough to really help me out, and I won't be changing two kid's diapers because he's potty trained.  He'll be going to preschool soon after so there will be the excitement for him, and some one-on-one time for me and Little Bean.  The silver lining is blinding!

And the way he pats my stomach and whispers "Hi baby"... it gives me a feeling that they'll be close.  Someday best friends.