Friday, January 26, 2018

Salem Lucille: 3 Months

Dearest Salem Lucille,

What an exciting third month of life you have had! You continue to develop and grow and love life which makes my mommy heart burst with happiness! You hit a lot of "first" milestones this month despite the frigid temps!

You had your first flight AND first trip to Florida! Both of which you were a dream for...snoozing and smiling on the airplane; napping and socializing in Naples! You took your first dip in the pool while in the sunshine state and absolutely loved it. You also celebrated your first New Years Eve which had you cheers~ing to the new year :)

You were baptized into the Catholic Church at St. Margaret Mary with the whole Collins family to see & support you! Your Godparents, Aunt Amanda & Uncle Robbie, were so proud and we are certainly blessed to have them in your life!

You had a few little hurdles...the start to teething can cause a few nighttime painful cries. You seem content to nibble on those hands to soothe yourself the majority of the time, but we have had to use some orajel here & there. 


You had your first round of shots which caused a loss of appetite and sleepiness for a few days. Just as those smiles were starting to come back, you caught RSV from big brother Aspen. Bless your heart as it rested in your sinuses and never dripped to your chest. Praise the Lord as we did not have to use any breathing treatments, and once your nose was suctioned out with the machine you were golden! No fever at all either which was such a relief as the other kids have battled RSV not so gracefully!

Your newest tricks include batting at the butterflies on your play mat, doing mini crunches in an effort to sit up while you are in your car seat/swing/rock n play, and {my personal fave} rolling from back to tummy!

You are so much fun my Salem girl! I cannot wait to see what this life has in store for you!

I love you!



Wednesday, January 24, 2018

This. Is. {Almost}. 35.

When This Is Us first aired, I was suffering from severe post-partum depression and the trailer for the show put me into uncontrollable sobs. I decide that I couldn't handle anymore emotional intake especially when it began with the loss of one of their children. But as people continued to rave about the show and the start of season 2 approached, I decided to take a look. I watched all of season 1 in about 4 days on my iPhone in bed with Kleenex in hand. I laughed and cried simultaneously. And became hooked. I have watched season 2 religiously along with the rest of America on Tuesday nights at 9pm and I have come to love the Pearson family.


What I love about the show so much is the positivity. The realness. The rawness. The old school family values. While they battle difficult situations and issues, they do it together as a couple or as a family. They weather the storms together. One can't help but just root for all 5 of them.

The show is wholesome in a world where innocence is stripped so easily. It is funny but not so sarcastic that it loses its human touch. And it is sad. Sad because while they are only a "TV family", the characters are {like always} based off of real people and real life events. 

Truth be told, the last 3 episodes have been intense. They have been more sad than happy. Building up to the death of Jack and really unraveling some of the deeper issues that the "big 3" struggle with due to their childhood and his passing. They have been tearjerkers to say the least. And last night's episode, well let me tell you what it had me feeling emotionally...


I have cried all day. Yes, you read this correctly. Crying on and off all day. As if the Pearsons are my family or my friends. As if these events actually happened in legit real life. I haven't been able to stop my brain from replaying last nights episode or watching it online. And people who watch the show, they get it. People who don't keep asking me what is wrong and I just say "This is Us." 

But honestly, the tears are more than that. You see I can relate to the characters. Each and every one of them. That is why we all love the show so so much. Next month I turn 35 which is essentially the same age as the present day big 3 so there is reflection in my mind and awareness of life's journey {past, present, and future}.

Lets start with Jack, because well he is the best. Jack is my dad. Perfection in basically every way. He always makes the right decision. He always loves his wife and sees the best in her. To him, my mom is his Rebecca. She has been for 40+ years. He has always operated as a team with her first, then the family is the next team. And God my dad is always so patient with us kids. He just wants to see us joyful and he is always proud. His work ethic is unparalleled and has been from day one. But he does have his vice. It isn't drinking; it is his eating habits. Yet just like Jack, even is his vice he is graceful and cognizant of his the time he had a stroke and let us all go to the Bahamas for my mom's birthday trip before he shared his little secret. He didn't want to ruin our time. He always puts our family first.

Rebecca, oh Rebecca, you pull at my heart strings so much. The young mother version is who I so desperately want to be. The one who doesn't raise her voice or fight back with her kids. The mother who accepts and understands that all of her children are different and that they must be loved in their own ways. I want to be that mom to my kids. I do, I do, I do. But I yell too much and I expect far greater than I should from my small children. 

Then there is the older mother version. And she makes my heart hurt for her. The sadness in her eyes for the great love she lost. The fairy-tale romance that was stripped from her taking pure joy from her heart. She is content with Miguel and I often wonder if that is all you get once you lose great love as I don't know that it comes around a second time. What is the hardest to watch is the strained relationship she has with her kids. Like somehow she lost them in a way when she lost Jack. I do not want to be the older version of Rebecca. I do not want to lose my joy in life; in any way shape or form.

As the oldest, Kevin really hits home to me when it comes to being the independent one. When Rebecca said to him that she never had to worry about him as a kid and now realized that was wrong, I thought about my own mom. I have always been self sufficient, a go-getter, and very independent. So I think as a parent it is easy to let go of that worry for such kids. But as I have become an adult, I have battled things that are difficult; things that I needed her to worry and needed her to pick me up. And sometimes I think that has been difficult for her. Not because she doesn't want to or loves me any less, but because she wasn't/isn't used to that worry for me. 

Then young Kevin often reminds me of Aspen. He is athletic, happy to be by himself, a little stand off-ish, good looking ;) And if I am being completely honest, he has often gotten lost in the shuffle. He hasn't always gotten the attention that he needed and he does lash out in ways that I worry about. So I flash forward to him growing up and I hope that he doesn't ever feel like his childhood wasn't good or that we don't have special moments. Because we do, at least to me.

Kate is just amazing. You just can't help but love her and be drawn to her. As a mom to two girls, it breaks my heart to know that some mean girl is going to hurt them at some point. Maybe not over their weight or their looks but by something. And the pain they will feel will break me. Adelaide is already aware of these friendship issues as she will report back who hurt her feelings from school. And I know that she probably does some hurting too and they are only in JK but it is already beginning. I have always said to her that she is beautiful but I have taught her that she is most beautiful in her mind and in her heart. I hope she never loses the amazement and the spunk that I see in her. I hope that I never let her down as her mom {Salem too} and that she knows how much I love her.

Oh Randall, you are truly a gem. A perfectionist plus someone who wants to be liked by all...who hasn't struggled with this at some point in their life honestly?! You see him try so hard to be loved and accepted by everyone. One of the hardest moments to watch was on the boys camping trip and his notebook read "try to make Kevin less mad." It reminds me of my relationship with my sisters and how I really love them so much & never want to upset them or make them mad. And when they are upset with me it cuts to my core because I just want them to know how much they mean to me. 

Then I look at my kids, especially the boys, and I see them bicker and compete. I don't ever want them to think that I love one more than the other. Because I love them both so much it hurts. I want them to be there for each other in the thick & thin. I want them to just know when the other is struggling and to reach out with open arms. They are so different but they are both so special. 

So my tears today were more than just "This is Us". They were a reflection. A reflection of my own childhood. Of my own relationships with my parents. With my siblings. A reflection of the romantic, fairy tale that I have always dreamed of since I was a little girl. Of my own marriage. A reflection of the mother that I am. Of the mother that I want to be. Of my children, the 4 most amazing things that I have ever had the privilege of creating. A reflection of how I hope they will look back on their childhood. Of the relationship we will continue to build as mother & child now and in the years to come. A reflection of joy. Of team work and partnership. Of family. Of love. Of life.

This. Is. {Almost} 35.

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Cold January: In Pictures

This January has been brutally cold. I am not a fan. Not a fan at all. Winter is not my jam. I don't mind a little bit of snow with 35 degrees and sunshine...but 5 degrees and gray skies are awful. Not to mention being cooped up in the house with kiddos for 5 straight days is chaos at its best!

So we have been trying not to go stir crazy and keep warm...our fun has included Paw Patrol Live, SportsFest, & Little Bunny Foo Foo! Plus a little snow time fun too of course :)