Sunday, November 19, 2017

Aspen Michael: 3 1/2 Years Old

Dearest Aspen Michael,

So much has happened over the last six months of life for you! With a major surgery under your belt, we were hopeful that better sleep & better attitude would come. At first we saw progress and then some severe regression during the summer months. At the start of August, I was beside myself with your behavior and how to address/fix/help with it. 

While your sleep became better and you only were waking once in the night and then able to fall back to sleep quickly, your demeanor changed as I found you throwing toys and objects all the time. At people, in the house, at things, and so on. The more I asked you/begged you/yelled at you to stop, the more you kept at it. You began hitting other kids especially little kids (those who were younger than you) and your cousin Boston. I could see that someone would say something that hurt your feelings but instead of trying to talk, you would hit them. It was painful to watch and I cried many frustrated tears over it.

We ended up meeting with a behavioral therapist who helped give us some tools and tricks to combat your negative-attention seeking behavior. We put these to work and things have been so, so much better. 

Around the same time, you began sleeping through the night FINALLY! After a year of not sleeping through the night, we both woke up completely different people. I began using lavender on your pillowcase in a desperate attempt to get you to sleep before your baby sister arrived. I have no idea if its the lavender or just your REM cycle came full circle, but I can see the change in us both with this new found sleep!

You are beginning to come into your own a bit and gain some independence. You are able to get yourself dressed from the waist down...shirts are still a struggle for you but we are working on it! You take your dishes to the sink, rinse them, and put them in the dishwasher. You are brushing your teeth and hair by yourself & you love setting up your nightlights for bedtime.

You are taking your big brother duties more seriously now with Brighton and Salem. You have begun to show empathy towards them, asking if they need your help. You also want to be the line leader and be in charge.

You are into sports and loving every minute of them. You have been taking weekly golf lessons for a few months and are already playing full holes on the Exec course. You are back to tennis and hitting backhands like a champ. You started swimming without floaties at the end of the summer which had you going off the diving board with no fear!

You amaze me with how much you love going to school now! The first day you gave Mrs. Evans & Mrs. Kinney the biggest hugs and shed zero tears. You just nonchalantly waved goodbye to me. Such a difference from last year! Thank you Lord!

You are enjoying Sunday School at St. Margaret Mary so much. You are in the class without Adelaide which I think makes it special for you. You are learning about God and so many wonderful life lessons which makes me happy.

We have our own special Tuesdays where we get to spend some one-on-one time together. We have been to House of Boom, road animals at the mall, enjoyed the park, or just hung out talking. I think we are both enjoying that time together.

I am excited to see what the next six months bring as you inch closer to being four years old!

I love you!



Thursday, November 16, 2017

Celebrating Our Sixth Year

This year we spent our anniversary relaxing and enjoying a low key day & night. We took the kids to the Festival of Lights at Louisville Slugger in the late morning. Neither of us had ever been and it was such a great way to kick off the day. The trees are absolutely gorgeous; there are plenty of activities for kids; the entire atmosphere is pure joy.

Later, Ryan & I enjoyed a nice, adult dinner out at La Chasse. It is a French restaurant in the Highlands. Toting a very unique menu with a twist of francais, we enjoyed the ambiance of the quaint space.

We dined on escargot, gnocchi, steak, and banana pudding while sipping on the Veuve Cliquot champagne!

We also cracked open our "5" year bottle from the wine box that Ryan gave me as a wedding gift. Since we were in Sedona last year and in the midst of moving/having most of our things in storage, we decided to save it for this year.  A Lincourt wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, was the perfect ending to the night paired with some of our chocolates to celebrate year 6!


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Whitney & Ryan: Wedding Anniversary #6

Last weekend Ryan & I celebrated our 6th year of marriage. This year has seen highs and lows from a family perspective. We have battled some issues with extended family which has had an affect on many family dynamics. We welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Salem Lucille, just over 2 weeks prior to 11/11/17 which has been the sweetest gift. 6 years of marriage, 8 years together, 4 cities, 2 houses, 4 kids, and 1 angel baby. We have experienced a lot of love and life in these 6 years!

You might recall when we celebrated our first anniversary and the gift that kept on giving all year long. We had a great time on our monthly dates and continued to enjoy our passion for exploring. For year two, I combined cotton & china into a beautiful Thanksgiving week getaway up in Mont Tremblant, Canada. In year three, a traditional leather gift came in the form of a TUMI travel wallet while the modern crystal gift included a Thanksgiving dinner at The Crystal Hotel in Portland, OR. Year four brought "tropical" fruits & flowers together with a trip to Bermuda followed by an upgraded {appliance} TV for our bedroom. Our fifth year was about "wood" and "silver which included a bamboo sushi set for two, wine cork cuff links with the year 2011, and a trip to the Greenbrier.

This year I wanted to *again* stick with tradition and put a spin on the modern gift. Traditionally iron is the gift of choice for year #6. Iron is thought to indicate strength. Candy is the modern gift due to representing sweetness.

Ryan loves biking; mountain, trail rides, or cycling. I can remember as a kid in the summers we would take family bike rides around the neighborhood. Kendahl & I would ride our own bikes while mom & dad toted Shane & Taylor in little kid carriers behind their bikes. It was such a fun family time that I thought what better way to incorporate "iron" into a gift. *Bikes have some pieces made from iron in them so I got creative here ;) * With Adelaide riding her bike and Aspen hot on the trail, I figured spring will be a great time for Brighton & Salem to hitch rides with mom & dad! So we have two new shiny casual, cruisin' bikes and two baby carriers to boot!


For candy,I had a box of personalized M&M's made with sayings like: 11/11/11, Happy Anniversary, I love you, & Year 6. We are also going to make a pit stop at Schimpff's Confectionery in Indiana on the way to your annual Thanksgiving trip! It is one of the oldest, family-owned candy businesses in the United States. It boasts a 1950's soda fountain, a confectionery, a candy museum, and a candy demonstration area. I can't wait for the kids to see what it was like in the olden days!

I truly love following the traditional and modern celebrations of each year. I hope when we look back on all of the years we can enjoy the way we celebrated as well as the special moments of each passing year!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Salem Lucille: Arrived October 26, 2017

To put into the words the birth story of our fourth and final baby is such a bittersweet thing. I have replayed it over and over in my mind for the last week and a half. I want to remember every single detail of it for the rest of my life. It is no secret that I love being pregnant so to end that era of my life has been a feeling that I am trying to take in stride while being an emotional postpartum, sleep deprived momma. I liken pregnancy to a wedding...there is months and months of hype, anticipation, nesting/planning, and waiting. Then the grande act comes and goes just as fast as can be while you work hard to live in the moment and enjoy its entirety. You work savor every single detail from start to finish, grasping tight to the euphoric feeling it has on you. But no matter how hard you try to hold onto that moment, it comes and goes quicker than you can imagine, and all of the planning & preparations are over. The climax hits high and fast leaving me wanting more time, more pregnancy, more savoring. 

So that is what I am doing. I am documenting and savoring the details here on this blog and in my mind each night before I go to sleep. 


Her birth story is a bit different than the others for many reasons: our first time delivering in KY, our first time delivering with Dr. Stewart, our first time not using a balloon to start induction, our first time having a baby's head be so low that my cervix couldn't be gotten to making it extremely posterior (and unable to break my water). The night before her birth, we went in to be induced. They used cervidil to begin. It is recommended to leave it in for 24 hours so that is what the doctor ordered. At 10:30am they removed it and I took a quick shower before being set up with pitocin. That all began around noon when all was said and done. I had been feeling contractions on and off for a few weeks but as they continued to increase my pitocin every 30 minutes my contractions were ramping up and coming every minute to minute & a half and lasting roughly 30-35 seconds.  About 2 hours later, the doctor came in to break my water. But he couldn't even get to my cervix to see if it was dilated or not nor could he reach it to break my water. I began to get anxious and nervous thinking we should have gone the balloon route that had always worked in the past. 

After some consideration as the contractions became even stronger, the team felt it might be helpful to go ahead with the epidural in order to cause less pain while trying to eventually get to my cervix. I had never gotten the epidural until my water had been broken with the others so I was hesitant but I prayed to God to be with us as the birthing plan I had in mind took a different turn.

By 3:20, I was prepped with my epidural and laid back to start feeling the effects. The nurse turned me on my side and said she would be back in 15 minutes to check me and hopefully break my water. I immediately felt something warm down my leg and realized that my water had broken on its own. I could feel the pressure down under and knew that I needed to start pushing soon as I could also feel the contractions in my stomach. She checked me at 3:45 and I was 10 cm. My mom could literally see her head just hanging out there!

One tiny push once everyone was in place and out she came with a loud cry to greet the world! I asked to have her right away, uncleaned. It was magical and there were a lot of tears of joy & wonder & amazement. 


Weighing in at 8lbs 2 ounces and measuring 19 inches long, she is the most gorgeous baby girl and the completing piece to our family puzzle. She looks like a mix of her big sister Adelaide and big brother Aspen. She has brown hair, big blue eyes, beautiful skin tone, long fingers, and just rolls with the punches.

Following suit like her older siblings, Salem is named after a city. It has always been our 2nd girl name and I have adored this name since I was 13 years old & met a girl from North Carolina on the tennis circuit named Salem. She had the best demeanor and was such a cool chic. It stuck with me all these years. Plus it means "peace" and this baby girl of ours has brought a tremendous amount of peace to my heart & soul since the day I found out she was growing in my belly. Lucille, meaning "light", is the French form of Lucy which was my Mama Collins' mom's name. 

We are over the moon in love with this precious child from God. She is perfect in every way and she has joined our family seamlessly. She is loved and adored by her big sister and big brothers. And this mommy is holding on to every single day & moment with her. Soaking up the newborn smells, relishing in her tiny newborn clothes (and tearfully folding her Halloween outfits but not able to put them out of site), cherishing the late nights together. For I know that this phase only lasts for but a short time and I want to remember how the feels that it brings!