First Smiles

Collen has been smiling for about 2 weeks now, but they're never predictable, so we haven't been able to get a picture....until today!

Collen is settling into a routine these days, so I now have a better idea of when I can catch those elusive grins of his. When he wakes up in the morning to eat....anywhere between 6am-7am, he will go back to sleep for a little while longer. Once he wakes up (around 9:30 - 10:00), he is one happy boy, and he will give out those sweet smiles. I had the camera ready this morning, and I was able to snap some pictures. Granted, they aren't great quality....but hey...they work. :) These are some pictures from our morning (they are backwards in the order in which they were taken...)

He's beginning to enjoy playing on his mat

He has held his thumb like this since the moment he was born. He'll tuck it between his index finger and middle finger, so this isn't exactly how he does it, but it's close. He must have done this a lot while in the womb because I noticed it minutes after he was born.

There's that smile! Mommy is so funny!!

Starting to let out the big grin

He'll be 6 weeks old on Sunday...where in the world does the time go?


More chaos...

When we sold our house back in July, I wrote about the chaos of moving.

Well, we're headed back into chaos! But I couldn't be happier to welcome all of the chaos that is about to come our way!

Yesterday, we finally closed on our house!

We can't wait to be in our house, living on a better side of town and in an area that will be great for Collen to grow up in.
Of course, as most closings go, things got a little iffy. I received a call from our loan officer; she was wondering if we could possibly shift closing to Thursday. Jeremy had already taken ALL of Wednesday off, practice and everything (did I hear you gasp? yeah...I know...can you believe he missed practice!?) to be at closing. If things had been moved to Thursday, there would have been a good chance of the closing being pushed into the afternoon, and Jeremy wouldn't have been able to be there because of practice and a JV football game (which has since been cancelled due to the freakishly heavy rain we've gotten this week, but that's beside the point). SO...I rallied for Wednesday and we were able to push it from the morning to the afternoon. Closing was supposed to be at 4. The attorney's office didn't receive our packet until 3:15. We got there at four and were told to sit tight, there was still paperwork they were waiting on.
I wasn't concerned. I knew it would have to get done at some point. We were there. It had to get done. My main concern was decided where I was going to nurse Collen in this attorney's office! His feeding schedule was not conducive to our schedule yesterday, so I had to just go with it. Luckily, it worked out, and I was able to hide in a room for a little bit.
Finally, the complete packet was ready - at about 5pm. We sat down with the attorney, our realtor and their realtor and got crankin'. Luckily, our packet was pretty small, so it went quickly, and we are now homeowner's again!! And we actually walked away with a little bit of money. We made a cool $50.00! How's that for being the buyers?! Don't worry, the sellers made a good amount of money, too, and I'm happy that they did. :) They deserved to after living in the house for 7 years and leaving in such WONDERFUL condition!
We already had the keys to the house, and since we originally thought closing was going to be in the morning, we had already set up a painting crew for the morning. Luckily, we were able to get into the house before closing to start painting. Below are some before pictures. I can't wait to show you the after pictures! Painting should be complete today; however, I opted out of the trip today since yesterday was a loooong day for Collen to be out and unsettled, so I will see the finished products tomorrow.
Tomorrow is supposed to be Day One of moving. We hope to be in the house by Saturday. Jeremy is staying there already, though, so he can keep an eye on everything. It's going to be surreal, waking up in our new house Sunday morning, and having a much shorter drive to church!
Take a gander at the BEFORE pictures:

Master Bedroom

Kitchen/Dining Area (I have big plans for expansion here)

Living Room (I have plans for this room as well)

Guest Bedroom/Kids Room (someday)

Guest/Collen's Bathroom

Collen's Room
More to come soon! Pray that the chaos goes smoothly and that we all work together to get settled as quickly as possible!!


Finally closing...

We are FINALLY closing on our house!


I am beyond ecstatic!

We thought we would have closed way before now, but if you've ever closed on a house, then you know that you're at the mercy of the underwriters and loan people (whoever they are). And somehow, their timing never seems to be the timing you would prefer. So, for the past -almost- 2 months, we have been staying with my parents...waiting...anxiously for this day. At one time, it looked like we would be closing the week of Collen's due date or possibly the week after that. Here we are at the end of September!

I'm feeling indebted to my parents for taking us in this long. Although, I know they wouldn't have it any other way. Plus, they've been able to see Collen all they want, and when we move, that won't be the case anymore. However, the three of my old getting pretty cramped. Collen, and all 11 pounds of him, takes up the most space! He has more stuff than Jeremy and myself put together. (Tidbit of trivia - Jeremy has more stuff than I do. The man has double the wardrobe that I have!)

We close Wednesday, paint Wednesday and Thursday, and hopefully get everything moved in over the weekend. It'll be so nice to be back home...close to church...close to friends...close to Ayden. I haven't been able to visit his spot while we've been with my parents. I usually visit at least once a week. I don't even know how to feel about bringing Collen along on one of those visits. I hate that the only way our whole family can "be together" is by visiting a memorial park. When I refer to our family, I should be saying, "the four of us" instead of "the three of us." We were three with Ayden, and we're still three with our second child.

Sigh...I digress....

Anyway, we're looking forward to finally being back in our own house, in our own bed. I will definitely miss the pampering that comes with staying with the parents. They've definitely done way too much for us, and I've enjoyed having their company during the day. I love the time I get with Collen, but it's nice to have an adult to conversate with, too. :)

Please pray that the move will go smoothly...all of it. Hoping to be blogging from our new home this time next week!


Still dreaming...

One of my big concerns after having Collen was that I would no longer dream of Ayden. If you've kept up with my blog, then you know that I frequently dream of Ayden, and it's something I'm so thankful for. In speaking with several families who have lost children, many of them have told me that they wished they could dream of their child. Ayden enters my dreams so easily, and I know that someday I may not dream of him anymore, so I hold on to the dreams I do have of him.

Last night was the first night I have dreamt of Ayden in awhile. I was preparing for Collen's doctor's appointment, and both of them were there. They were both in infant carseats, and I kept wondering to myself, "How am I going to explain that I have a 4 month old and 1 month old." (Ayden has only ever been older than 4 months in 1 of my dreams) Almost every dream is the same. Ayden is 4 months old, and I am completely aware of the fact that he should not be there or that he isn't going to be with me for very long. In last night's dream, I kept telling Jeremy, "we need to watch him. He isn't going to stay with us. You know what's going to happen." In a lot of the dreams, we desperately try to keep him with us. Last night wasn't out of the norm. In the beginning of the dream, we were playing with both of our boys. It felt so real that it seemed strange to me because I knew that Collen and Ayden could never be with us at the same time. But they were, and we just held them and played with them until we couldn't anymore. I kept saying, "I don't know how I'm going to get both of them into the doctor's office with me. How am I going to carry two infant carriers?" Towards the end of the dream, he was leaving us, and Jeremy was trying desperately to keep him with us....he was trying CPR...anything he could think of, but it wouldn't work. (This happens in a lot of my dreams, and it's always the hardest part. We are either trying CPR or we're trying to find a place to hide him...a place only we know about so we can keep him with us.) It always ends the same....he's gone. And that's heartbreaking to say the least.

I woke up still wondering how I would explain a 4 month old and a 1 month old today at the doctor's office. Then, the sleepiness faded, and I remembered....

....and it's the remembering that tears my heart out all over again.

Another video


Here is proof of Collen's noise-making tendencies. He's the noisiest when it's changing time. He grunts and stretches and grunts some more. :) I love all his baby sounds....even the little toot he snuck into this one!


One Month Update

A look back over Collen's first month...

August 22, 2010 - The day this handsome little man came into our lives

Week One - Jaundice issues and breastfeeding frustrations

Week Two - Spending more time awake and still struggling with feeding (mom, not Collen)

Week Three - Showing his personality and settling into a routine

Week Four - Developing more of his personality, and he started smiling!
It's hard to believe it has been a month since we first met Mr. Collen. The anticipation and anxious feelings that accompany labor and delivery are still so fresh. I miss being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE that Collen is here, and I adore every single second I have with him, but I miss those little jabs and kicks and the giddiness I felt each time I felt a little nudge. Pregnancy is so amazing, and it's something that will never fail to astound me.
But, now he's here! And we grow more and more in love with him every day. Collen's one month check up was today, so we got an update on weight, length, and head circumference. Here are
Collen's stats as of one month:
Weight: 10lbs 14oz
Length: 22 inches
Head Circ.: 39 cm
Percentile: 60th%
Sleeping: Collen loves to sleep. He takes several naps during the day, and once we put him down for the night (usually between 9:30 and 11), he will sleep his longest stretch, which is usually 4-5 hours. Then, he will wake up to eat then go right back to sleep for another 3 hours. If I work it out right, I can usually get 5-8 hours of sleep at night. Every night, I could potentially get 8 hours of sleep, but I spend a lot of time watching him sleep, or just lying awake. It takes me a while to get back to sleep.
Eating: We are still breastfeeding (yay! I stuck it out!), and it is going very well. We finally got the hang of it, and the pump has become my new best friend. If I want to go anywhere during the day, I will be sure I time it so that I can pump out a bottle's worth before we go. That way, I can nurse him before we leave and then we have a reserve bottle for while we are out. We usually aren't out too long, so having the bottle buys us about a 3-6 hour window (depending on when I nurse him and if I'm up and ready to go before nursing). We've worked out a routine that works really well, which has helped me stick with it. Collen's obviously getting enough since he's quite the chunky one.
He is a growing boy, and a big one for his age. Someone today asked me if he was two months old. I sheepishly looked at him and said, "No....he's only a month old. He's just a big boy." I later told Collen that it was okay to be a big boy because his brother was big, too....and when he was 3 months old people would ask me if he was 6 months old. It's just how our boys grow, and that's just okay! :)
At one month, Ayden was just about the same size, although he weighed a little less (Collen is a bit chunkier...). It's neat to see how similar they are in their growth pattens so far. Developmentally, they have hit the same milestones right around the same times as well. Collen and Ayden both have their unique qualities and appearance, but you can definitely tell they are brothers. I hope that continues.

I have to say, our first month with Collen has been much calmer than our first month with Ayden. We didn't suffer from the new parent jitters, and we haven't let ourselves get worked up over little things (aside from the jaundice and the nursing, but those quickly resolved themselves). Surprisingly, I did not have many emotional moments - or baby blues moments. I have been very mellow considering the circumstances. I've had to talk myself into being calm because I know that I have the potential to become a nervous wreck. I could let myself live in fear and worry myself ragged, but I'm determined not to stress myself out. If I'm stressed, Collen will be stressed, and I don't want that. He needs me to be relaxed and able to soothe and comfort him.
All in all, this first month has been great, and we have certainly enjoyed getting to know Collen and learning all about him. We absolutely love and adore him, and we are amazed at all he has brought [back] into our lives. We anxiously anticipate the months and years ahead with Collen, and we can't wait to spend every day watching him grow into the young man he is destined to become!

*NOTE: I tried to fix the spacing several times, but blogger wanted to be hardheaded today. Sorry it all runs together!


He's smiling

I don't have a picture, yet, but Collen is starting to smile.

I can't even begin to tell you how much my heart melts when he looks at me and smiles. I don't think he has a clue what he's doing, but it sure does make his mommy smile.

Whenever I see him smile...

...I see Ayden.

If you have followed my blog for the past year, you know undoubtedly what my favorite trait of Ayden's is - that beautiful smile.

Collen shares his brother's smile.

I was watching Collen "play" (wriggle around and practice kicking) on the play mat this morning, and he looked up at me and let out the biggest grin. In that moment, I was taken back to Ayden playing on that same play mat, looking up at me and smiling so sweetly.

It's all so surreal. I was looking at Collen and remembering Ayden, yet the time I remember with Ayden seems so distant....almost a dream. I know I lived it. I know I held him. I know I kissed him. I know he was/always will be the center of my life. But it feels as if I lived it in another another time. Sometimes it feels so much longer than a little over a year ago that I last held him.

I'm not sure if that makes much sense....

I love that Collen is smiling. I love that he shares his brother's smile. I love my two boys more than I could ever, ever imagine loving anyone. I just wish I had them both here to enjoy. I wouldn't take Ayden from the majesty he is witnessing and living now, but some days....I just want him here. I need him....I need to see that face, those beautiful blue eyes, and yes...that gorgeous smile. Soon enough, though, I will. And I live in full anticipation of that wonderful day.

Until then, I have another little boy to nurture, care for, and raise according to faith and the promise of eternity with our Lord. A little boy who will never know his brother here, as we have known him. But our hope is that he will be reunited with his brother as we hope to as well. It's a daunting task, but I will do my best to be sure our family is together, always.


Newborn Photos

So, if you've ever tried to have professional pictures taken of your newborn, you know it is a daunting task. You go into it with high expectations, anticipating the most beautiful pictures! Then, you realize, this little person is probably not going to cooperate as you had hoped. The crying ensues, and of course there is a lot of pee, poop, and comforting that takes place. However, you still manage to get some good memories, and a lot of laughs, out of the experience.

Collen did wonderfully for his newborn pictures. He had his moments, as all newborns will, but overall, he was very cooperative.

The photographer is a good friend of mine from high school. Her dad began a photography business years and years ago, and is THE photographer to go to around the area I grew up in. His daughter is now stepping out and following in her dad's footsteps by taking on weddings, families, and children. She is very talented, and I know she is well on her way to making a name for herself just as her dad has.


One Month Old

I have to confess....

It seems like I'm good about taking pictures. I am....when it comes to taking random pictures. Taking milestone pictures....I'm not so good about that. With Ayden, I wanted to be that mom who took pictures every week, marking each week and having a picture history of his growth. Yeah, the intent was there....just never happened. I still took pictures each week; just not really with a purpose other than taking pictures whenever I could!

With Collen, again...fully intended to do the weekly photo. Still didn't happen. BUT, I have commited myself to a monthly picture. I think I can handle that. So, below is our one month photo. I always hear people say, "Take their picture with the same object or in the same spot." So, I decided we'd use his sock dog because I'm determined he's going to love it! Might as well force the relationship early. haha Collen was not thrilled about our little photoshoot. I got him bathed and looking cute, but he just wasn't feeling it. He decided to give me the stink face as I took the pictures of him. That's okay...he's cute even when he makes the ugliest of faces (and people...he can make some faces...)

Peruse through week four of Collen's life....

Collen said, "I'm over it. Can I eat him?"

I have learned two things about Collen and the swing.
1. If he's sleepy but just not quite sleepy enough to drift off on his own - put him in the swing.
2. If he needs to poop - put him in the swing.
As I type this, he is accomplishing both of these tasks. There is just something about a swing that just works for this little boy.
Getting sleepy....
Give me a paci....I'm set. Naptime is a go!

Hey folks. This is my dad! I don't see him as often as he'd like, but I save sweet kisses for him when he gets home.

Telling dad about my day. You know, the usual, eat..sleep..poop...spend time with Mommy.

Here you go Daddy. Saved this one just for you.

He's beginning to enjoy bathtime. Doesn't hurt that he looks so stinkin' adorable in a hoodie towel.

When Daddy leaves for work, Mommy lets me sleep in the bed with her. Of course, I have to stay in my positioner. Something about keeping things consistent. I don't long as I get to sleep.

Exhibit A: Good sleep.
We had newborn photos taken of Collen this past Saturday. Look for a post soon that features a sneak peek into his photo session. He did a great job, and we got some beautiful pictures! I am loving capturing all of these memories with him. He's so precious!