Saturday, December 31, 2011

Collett Family 2011 Review

Some of you may have already received this in the mail, but here it is for everyone else and simply for preservation's sake!

This year included one family wedding, two family vacations, three different vehicles, four cavities, and five years completed of marriage (our fifth anniversary was in April). Teething has been more difficult than we remembered, and potty training has been more exasperating than we expected. Jeff is the ward mission leader at church and still works at Citywide Maintenance. Mimi is still the visiting teaching coordinator and spends most of her day trying to entertain her children—sometimes succeeding. Unforgettable from 2011 was this spring’s frequent flooding of the basement along with the sewer pipe leaking into our crawlspace.

All things considered though, we have been very blessed. Trips this year took us to Nebraska, Michigan, South Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. We’ve also had many people visit us, which we love and hope continues in 2012.

Daniel Wells Collett surprised us all by arriving exactly one month early; he was born on  January 7. He has progressed a lot this year and is currently in the early stages of walking and babbles quite a bit. He loves food that he can pick up with his hands, and he is always very interested to see what his big sister is up to. We feel really blessed that he and Jill get along so well together. He seems to understand a lot of what we say to him. Other than contracting the chicken pox and the croup and forgetting how to sleep, he is a very easy baby who is happy almost all the time. He brings a lot of joy into our home. Jeff and Mimi both agree that his first official word is “kitty.”
Jill Halley Collett turned two in April. Thanks to her grandma, she has been able to meet Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street gang, as well as see Mickey on Ice. It is pretty cute to see how excited she gets at these shows. She was a pirate for Halloween and made sure her brother was one, too! She can spell her name now, almost count to twenty, and recite the alphabet. She has been a busy girl this year with swimming and gymnastics lessons, story time at the library, and a joy school with her friends. So far she seems to have inherited her mother’s love for singing and reading and her father’s ability to remember names. She never forgets a friend, and she has a lot of them!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmases Past

For fun, I thought I would revisit some past Christmas family photos.

When the Bolings were still just the Bolings.

The Bolings expanded to add a Collett and a Rose.

The Collett Family went on our fabulous Caribbean Christmas Cruise!

The Bolings added in a Cosman and some Lamberts.

Jill's First Christmas!

We didn't know it then, but we were only two weeks away from becoming a family of four!

Christmas with Daniel and Jill.

And while I was scrounging around, I found some more to share.

I don't know the year, but I'm guessing this was is Michigan, so sometime between 1989 and 1993. Perhaps now I know where Jill got her last year Santa picture from. What am I so unhappy about? And who is sitting on Santa's lap with me??

I'm guessing 1997.
Those were some great pajamas!

And I'm guessing 1999.
Haha. So much for trying to look good on my blog! I thought this was pretty funny. 
Christmas morning doesn't get much better looking than this!
Oh, those were so not the days . . .

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas

This is a talk by my sister that she let me read before she gave it at church in her ward today.

Last night was Christmas Eve, that holy night, that most holy of all nights. The stars were brightly shining. It was the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long had lain the world in sin and error pining, till he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, and the weary world rejoiced! For yonder broke a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, and hear the angel voices! It was a night divine, when Christ was borne. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, let all within us praise his holy name! Christ is the Lord, let ever, ever praise we. (1)

Our Christmas story started with the trumpeting of angels. “Glory to the newborn king!” They proclaimed. “Peace on earth, and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise, join the triumph of the skies with angelic hosts proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem!” (2)

Their audience was a group of lowly shepherds, guarding their flock of sheep in a field. While they watched their flock by night, far far away on Judea’s plains, those shepherds of old heard the joyous strains, “Glory to God! Glory to God! Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth good will toward men!” Those shepherds followed the star and it led them to the newborn babe. (3)

The little family so earnestly sought by the shepherds were in the town of Bethlehem because of a requirement to pay a tax in the city of their lineage. O dear little town of Bethlehem how still we see thee lie, above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth, the everlasting light! The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above, while mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love. O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth! And praises sing to God the king and peace to men on earth! (4)

Those seeking Him found the precious baby in that city lying in a manger, with no crib for his bed. The little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head. The stars in the heavens look down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay. The cattle are lowing, the poor baby wakes. But little Lord Jesus no crying he makes. (5)

When the shepherds entered the manger, they found Joseph watching steadfastly over his wife Mary, and her newborn son. The shepherds and Joseph watched Mary lovingly care for her newborn son, singing him sweet lullabies to soothe him back to sleep. Silent night, holy night, all is calm. All is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child, holy infant so tender and mild. Sleep in heavenly peace! Sleep in heavenly peace. (6)

And as she lulled her baby back to sleep, the earth itself rejoiced. Joy to the world! The Lord is come, let earth receive her king! Let every heart prepare him room, while saints and angels sing. Rejoice rejoice, when Jesus reigns, and Saints their songs employ! While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy! (7)

There was another group of righteous men who also saw the star, and understanding its meaning set out to seek the Christ child. With wondering awe the wise men saw the star in heaven springing, and with delight in peaceful night they heard the angels singing, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Hosanna to his name!” By light of star they travelled far to seek the lowly manger, a humble bed wherein was laid the humble little Stranger. And still is found the world around the old and hallowed story, and still is sung in every tongue the angels’ song of glory! (8)

And that is our miraculous, beautiful story, of once upon a time in Royal David’s city when there stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed. Mary was that mother mild, and Jesus Christ her little child. It is our job to come all ye faithful! Let us be joyful and triumphant! O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem! Come and behold him, born the king of angels! Let us sing with choirs of angels and let us sing in exultation! Sing all ye citizens of heaven above, “Glory to God, glory to God in the highest”—O come let us adore Him! (9)

President Uchtdorf said, “[Let us] celebrate the birth of the Son of God, the Creator, our Messiah. [Let us] rejoice that the King of kings came to earth, was born in a manger, and lived a perfect life. When Jesus was born, the joy in heaven was so great it could not be contained, and angelic hosts parted the veil, proclaiming unto shepherds “good tidings of great joy, . . . praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Wise Men “rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when . . . they saw the young child with Mary his mother, [they] fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts.” It is only fitting that we—like the Wise Men, shepherds, and angels—take time to rejoice and celebrate that glorious first Christmas Day.” (10)

President Uchtdorf also said about our modern Christmas celebrations, “We have in our minds a picture of how everything should be—the perfect tree, the perfect lights, the perfect gifts, and the perfect family events . . . nothing short of perfection will do. Sooner or later, something unpleasant occurs . . . the turkey burns, the sweater is the wrong size, the toys are missing batteries, the children quarrel, the pressure rises—and the picture-perfect Christmas we had imagined, the magic we had intended to create, shatters around us.
But then, if we are only willing to open our hearts and minds to the spirit of Christmas, we will recognize wonderful things happening around us that will direct or redirect our attention to the sublime. It is usually something small—we read a verse of scripture; we hear a sacred carol and really listen, perhaps for the first time, to its words; or we witness a sincere expression of love. In one way or another, the Spirit touches our hearts, and we see that Christmas, in its essence, is much more sturdy and enduring than the many minor things of life we too often use to adorn it.” (11)

Today as we celebrate the birth of Christ I would like to encourage you to look past the minor things of life that we typically use to adorn the holiday, and focus more on the sturdy and enduring aspects of it: the message of Christ’s love for all of us. Do as Uchtdorf suggested and find a quiet moment to read the account in Luke, and ponder what it really might have been like for that little family on that night, and what it meant and still means to people all the world over. Play the sacred carols, and let their sweet melodies and joyful lyrics embed themselves in your heart. Don’t wait to witness a sincere expression of love—create a sincere expression of love!  Smile, laugh, hug, play. Praise Heavenly Father and thank the Lord for the gifts they have given us this day, and every day. Renew commitments made to yourself, your family, and your Savior. 

I know some of you are perhaps finding it difficult to feel the joy and happiness of this season.  Life can be overwhelming sometimes, and pretty songs and lights don’t make problems vanish, as nice as that would be. The December issue of the Ensign has an article by David L. Frischknecht. In that article he tells of a time when he was Bishop and feeling weighed down by the burdens the members of his ward were carrying.  He knelt to pray for them, and as he reviewed their individual troubles he felt the weight of their suffering literally pressing down on him.  As he prayed he felt a clear and powerful answer that God was very aware of each individual and their needs. He felt comforted by the Holy Spirit, as if it said to him, “Bishop, let the Lord take these burdens. Rise up. Do the best you can. Things will work out for these people. You’ll be fine, too. Go be their bishop. The Lord will be their Savior.” I have spent a lot of time this month thinking about that. Christ’s sacrifice is for each of us, that precious baby who grew up to be our Savior knows us and our pains and troubles, and He loves us, and we need to remember to let Him be our Savior. (12)

And so, on this glorious Christmas day, and any other day, if you, like so many right now, are feeling lost, or concerned with difficulties in your life, I would just like to remind you, in the words of Brother Frischknecht, that “before and after He was a baby in Bethlehem and a carpenter in Nazareth, He was and is the God of Israel and the God of the whole earth. He was and is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Holy and Only Begotten Son of the Living God. . . . May we remember and believe that He has all wisdom and all power in heaven and in earth . . . And may we have faith that He yet condescends to help and lift the least and the last, even you, even me.” (12)

There may be many things that you do not have this Christmas season. There may be things that have been taken from you due to the current economic situation, or a health situation, but there is something that can never be taken from you. This beautiful Christmas story is unlike any other story ever told: it has no ending, the characters are all real, and that precious baby lying so peaceful and sweet is our living Savior and Redeemer. When we know that, when that truth becomes real in our lives, no one can take it away from us, and it can compensate for all other losses if we allow it to.

I know he lives. I know he loves me and I know he loves each of you. I know that men are that they might have joy, and that Christ is the light which cannot be hid in darkness. (13) As today goes on and the sun sets, take a quiet moment to look at the lights on the tree, the lights on the houses, and let go your troubles, and let your heart be full of joy for Jesus Christ, he who is the light and the life of the world (14). Let him be a light in your darkest night.

I hope you are all having a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas with the Sharks

As an early Christmas present, Laurie took Danny and Jill (and me!) to the Newport Aquarium. I had never been there before, and there were lots of cool exhibits. Jill was very impressed by Scuba Santa, and Laurie was impressed that the digital copy of the photos was only $5 extra! (Yay!) Jill really liked the sharks and the penguins. Danny just liked pretty everything. He was even nonchalant about a bird pooping on his head. (Yeah, there was a bird exhibit at the aquarium.) Jill enjoyed feeding the bird the sweet nectar drink; although a bird did steal the cup from her and then dropped it. Bummer.

Jill and Danny aren't really smiling in the picture below, but that seems pretty appropriate since the photographer caught a shark swimming past. They do look slightly apprehensive, don't you think? As if they knew . . . :)

Have any of you been to an aquarium recently? The octopus and jellyfish really were insane looking up close. And there were a few ocean creatures that looked like they could have walked right out of a nightmare.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"I don't even speak Spanish!"

Today I had a first that was somewhat difficult for me. My ward is the designated Spanish-speaking ward for my stake, so anyone in the stake boundaries with Spanish as their first language usually comes to our ward. We offer different services in Spanish, including having a Spanish Relief Society lesson once a month. That, of course, leaves three other Relief Society lessons in English for the Spanish-speaking sisters to sit through, sisters who often are not fluent in English.

We used to have Spanish-speaking sister missionaries who would translate those lessons, but we haven't had those for about a year. One solution we came up with was to have our elders translate, but there is something weird about having elders in Relief Society.

So, I was asked if I would be willing to give translation a try.

People always ask me how I learned Spanish, and I always have a long response. I sort of learned it through Portuguese. When I was eight years old, my family moved to Brazil, where I learned Portuguese. We moved back when I was twelve. Then when I was fifteen, I began studying Spanish at school and studied it for the next three and a half years. When I was eighteen, I went to college and began studying Portuguese again. I graduated rather quickly, so I ended up one or two classes shy of completing the Portuguese minor.

In these Portuguese classes, I made some of my best friends from college. I took the accelerated course my first semester at BYU, and the course was designed for those who spoke Spanish (or another Romance language, but specifically Spanish) to learn Portuguese. My closest friends were from Mexico and Colombia. We saw each other every day in class, and almost every weekend we would go out dancing or to some sort of party/get together. They obviously often spoke Spanish to each other, and I sometimes felt lost and always responded in English or Portuguese, never in Spanish.

I remember numerous occasions in Portuguese class, speaking in Portuguese only to discover that I had thrown a Spanish word in. I would look at my friends and laughingly say, "but I don't even speak Spanish!" And I really didn't.

Then I married a man who was fluent in Spanish. Then we moved to Cincinnati where we lived in the Spanish designated ward boundaries. And then I made some very close friends who didn't speak any (or very little) English and no Portuguese. And so slowly, my Portuguese morphed into Spanish. My vocabulary is pretty okay, but my conjugation is horrible. I'm never in the correct tense or person, but they seem to understand what I'm trying to say.

Recently I have made a new friend who is Brazilian, and it was been so much fun to hear her speak in Portuguese. And it has been really sad to try to respond to her in Portuguese, because now it all comes out Spanish. If I want it to be Portuguese, I have to stop in between each word and think about it rather than just let it flow effortlessly. Sad.

But it was really fun translating today in Relief Society, even though I was somewhat stressed about it and nervous. I did not know all of the words, but I usually figured out a different way to describe what was being said.

Thinking about speaking Spanish though has made me really miss my first Spanish-speaking friends. It has made me remember all of the fun times we had in college and wonder what they are up to now. I wish I could have been able to speak to them in Spanish back then like I can now (messed up verbs and all). :)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Genealogy Fan Chart

I had to shrink it to get it to fit on my blog, but isn't this cool? It is a fan chart of my direct ancestors! Click the link (Genealogy Fan Chart) if you want to get one, too! If you click on my chart below, you should be able to see it a bit bigger but not even close to as large as the original is. It is definitely high quality enough for if you wanted to print it.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Yummmmm Manicotti!

I made manicotti for dinner last night. (Yes, Ames, on the phone I said stuffed shells. I was very surprised when I pulled the box of pasta out of the pantry. Luckily, the recipes are very similar, or at least it worked.)

Jeff happened to sit next to Danny, and he was busy serving everyone. I glanced over and said "Wow. Did you give that big piece to Danny?" Jeff didn't know what I was talking about, and he looked down and saw that Danny had swiped an entire manicotti noodle from his plate!

Danny looked very happy with himself and was munching away on a pepperoni, which I didn't think he'd be able to handle, but he did fine!

Jeff took his dinner back and cut Danny some appropriate-sized baby pieces. We were all laughing so hard. If you look in the picture,  you can see the little sauce trail left from the theft. I guess he was impatient to be fed. :)

And I wish I had an audio recording of it, but Jill sounds really cute when she says "manicotti."

Jill is doing two funny things right now. My Grandpa Homer has been with us this past week. When Jeff and I pray, we usually address our "Heavenly Father." My grandpa always says our "Father in Heaven." Every single time (without fail!) that my grandpa has prayed, Jill opens her eyes and says "He said heaven!" She usually repeats that two or three times during Grandpa's prayer. I don't know why she thinks it is so funny. Maybe because it is different from how we say it, or maybe because she thinks he is saying Kevin or Devin (two of her uncles). I don't know, but it's pretty cute how excited she gets.

As you may know, Jill loves Justin Bieber. Apparently his appeal does extend to two year olds. Her daddy recently showed her his mistletoe song, and in the song, Justin sings about "makin' a list." Jill, for whatever reason, thinks he is saying "naked" instead of "makin." Now the song is not dirty and has absolutely nothing to do with nakedness, but every time she hears it (even when sung on the Sing-Off), she says, "he said naked!" and giggles ensue. I guess naked is just a very funny idea for her.

Two year olds are pretty cute.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Merry Christmas

This picture is brought to you courtesy of my wonderful mother-in-law who forked over to buy the digital copy! And I love that it documents Danny's black eye for all progeny to see!

And if you want to remember how the Santa pictures went in 2010 and 2009, click here!
Oh the tears! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

I was not meant to die today.

As some of you may know, I am exhausted. And I have a history of falling asleep driving. Remember that trip to Pennsylvania earlier this year? My sister and I drove from Cincinnati to Hershey, and at one point (right before we switched drivers) my sister commented from the back of the van, "you know, it's very disconcerting to see the same expression on the face of my sister who is driving that I see on the face of my nephew who is nodding off in his car seat."

Well, I have fallen asleep driving before. Three times now. And I guess that is why, with the third time, I finally struck out.

I was driving between Indianapolis and Richmond on I-70 with my cruise control set exactly at the speed limit. I felt tired, but I was only twenty minutes away from my destination, so I thought I could make it and I didn't want to be late to church. I tried calling people, but everyone was either doing something that I didn't want to interrupt or didn't answer the phone. The last thing I remember was driving in the right lane, trying to decide who I could call who could talk to me and keep me alert the last twenty minutes.

I felt tired before I even left Indy, but I felt like it would be dumb to say that. "Oh, I'm too tired to drive, so I guess I'll just sit here and wait until I make two people drive a few hours to get me and have one drive my car back while the other is alone in his car." I don't know. It just sounded too weak and really inconvenient for others. I had no real proof, like a broken leg or something. Surely it was all mental.

So I drove.

And the rumble strip woke me up.

I was then in the left lane, headed right toward the guard rail. I was not very alert, so I immediately jerked my steering wheel the other direction. Going 70 miles an hour, this is never a good idea. I drove in a complete tiny circle, hitting the guard rail on the way around. Then I drove in another quick circle. Then I became a little more alert and realized that hitting the brake would be a good idea. I still can't believe I didn't flip my van jerking the steering wheel like that.

So I slammed my foot on the brake. At that point, my car was perpendicular with the road, straddling the dotted line in between the two lanes.

I was still pretty disoriented, and I could not decide whether my car was turned on or off, so I turned the key off. Then I realized I was in the middle of a highway, blocking both lanes, and I turned my car back on, drove over to the shoulder and called my parents, 911, and the relatives I was going to go visit in Richmond. (Jeff was at church, so I didn't think he would notice his phone. I did eventually reach him.)

Danny was asleep for almost the whole event. He woke up at the end with a bit of a squeal, but seems to be completely unscathed. Thank you infant car seat!

I have some bruises, and my neck/head is sore.

My van sustained some damage. The first estimate came back at $2,080.

As I sat there waiting for the police, it was pretty scary feeling my car rock as every truck and vehicle whizzed past me. I was amazed at how busy the highway was, because during my accident, I neither hit another vehicle nor was hit.

How is that possible?

Then I got to church with my relatives and was wondering how I was going to get home. I was about an hour and a half away. My van was still drivable, so I didn't want to leave it in Richmond, but I REALLY did not want to drive. The adrenaline and shock was not enough to make me not tired. I was still exhausted.

As I sat in Sunday School, I recognized a couple (Russell and Amanda) who I had met a few weeks earlier at my cousin's (Shannon) temple sealing. Amanda was a cousin of my cousin Shannon, and we had never met prior to that, but at the sealing, we discovered that we both lived in Cincinnati, about 20 minutes apart. I decided I didn't feel comfortable asking Amanda, but my cousin Ben was actually also related to this couple, because his wife (Heather) was Amanda's cousin. (The Bakers and Homers are connected in many ways!) And Ben did feel comfortable, and Russell said they didn't mind at all! So, Russell drove my van, and Amanda drove their vehicle, and they dropped us off at the stake building, where Jeff and my father-in-law met us.

I asked Russell and Amanda how often they go up to visit family in Richmond, and they said this was actually the first time (other than holidays). They have always wanted to go and make an effort to be closer to Amanda's extended family, but it had never worked out prior to this.

Hm. It had never worked out until the Sunday when I would need someone in Richmond who was driving to Cincinnati any way.

And I did two hairpin circles and came to a dead stop in the middle of a highway and didn't hit any other cars and did not flip my car.

And I hit a guard rail going 70 miles an hour and did not injure myself or my child, and my car is still drivable.

All I kept thinking over and over again on Sunday was "I was not meant to die today."

Incidentally, I did say a traveling prayer before I left Indianapolis that morning, and my prayer was definitely answered. And up until Saturday, the plan was for me to take Jill with me, but last minute we decided to leave her with Jeff. I am so glad she was not with me, because the experience would have terrified her.

I feel so stupid for driving drowsy and falling asleep. I cannot believe I risked my family dealing with another funeral.

And I am not sure when I will feel comfortable driving long distances again.

I feel so, so lucky and blessed.

Monday, November 28, 2011

It's already been a long day.

Don't you hate it when you feel like your day has already been impossibly long, and then you look at the clock, and it is only noon? I've had one of those days. And I feel like sharing it with you.

The long day began last night.

  1. For whatever reason, Jill took about two hours to settle down, stay in her bed, and sleep. She shares a bedroom with Danny, so a large portion of the two hours involved me sitting in the rocking chair in the dark (thinking about everything I wanted to be doing) while she fidgeted in her bed. If I stayed in there, then she wouldn't scream and she would stay in her bed, and Danny would not be woken up.
  2. Danny did wake up though (not due to Jill)—around 12:30 and 3:30 and 5:30. He woke up for good at 7:00. So, between Jill giving me a late bedtime, and Danny giving me numerous wake up times, I was a little tired.
  3. Daniel was standing next to the coffee table and then face planted on the table. He has a huge bruise on his cheekbone, trailing up to his eye, with a cut in the middle. He was very upset. One of these days he'll learn to either not fall over or to put his hands out when he's falling.
  4. Jill peed her pants and left a little puddle on the carpet in the family room.
  5. Cosmo peed on the carpet in my bedroom.
  6. About an hour later, Cosmo pooped on the carpet in my bedroom. (Why?!)
  7. I watched my friend's baby for two and a half hours. For two of those hours, she was either crying or screaming. For about an hour and a half of them, I was holding her, so my back and arms are pretty sore. A baby's cry can be contagious, so Jill and Danny did their share of crying, too.
On the flip side . . . 
  1. One day, I'll have to do a lot more than just sit next to Jill's bed to make her feel safe and happy. It is pretty sweet that she allows me to comfort her, and while I had other things to do, sitting in a rocking chair while she lies in her bed isn't exactly difficult.
  2. Even though I am tired, I can never forget how lucky I am to have a baby to hold in the middle of the night, or any time of the day.
  3. Daniel could have smacked his eye on the corner of the table, so his cheek is much better. And him standing up means he is that much closer to walking.
  4. Jill hadn't peed her pants in four or five days, and she told me immediately upon peeing her pants that she had peed, so she was aware and did not hide it.
  5. I found the pee before Jill. I hate finding a pee spot and realizing Jill and Daniel had been playing on that part of the carpet.
  6. I found the poop before Daniel. You know how babies love to put everything in their mouths . . . :)
  7. Since I watched my friend's baby that enabled my friend's husband to go visit her at the hospital. And one of my other friends came over in the last half hour to give me some reprieve from all the crying and help me make lunch. Mothers of multiples: I salute you. 
So, my long day should be pretty short from here on out. Jill is taking a nap. Danny will probably take a nap in the next hour or so. Then I will put dinner ingredients in the pressure cooker and probably take a nap myself until Mr. Amazing comes home.

Thanks for listening to my whine and helping me find the silver linings to my clouds. :)
I hope you're having a good day!

And here is some cuteness. (If you are on my blog, click on the image to view it larger.)

P.S. One of the things I love about my house is how close to the church we are located. I was especially grateful of this yesterday evening when I arrived at the church early for a baptism with all of my kids in tow only to look down and see my feet still shod in house slippers. Ha.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mimi's Mythology: Tooth Harpy

American folklore contains a delightful character called the tooth fairy. I usually think of the tooth fairy as female, silvery, very small, friendly, and kind. She happily pays you for the baby teeth you have lost. (What a nice thing to do!) She sneaks into your house without bothering anyone and gently whisks the tooth out from under one's pillow and leaves behind whatever amount of money she has agreed upon with the parents. ;)

My house has not been visited by the tooth fairy.

To describe the status of teeth in our home, I have created a new folklore character—the tooth harpy.

She is the cousin of the tooth fairy, but not nearly so kind, gentle, nor pretty.

The tooth harpy has been visiting my home with great frequency. I couldn't tell you the last night I slept uninterrupted. I could, however, tell you that last night Daniel woke up eight times. Delightful.

Today, it was finally apparent that the tooth harpy is the reason behind these night wakings. Four beautiful, pearly white specks have appeared in his top gum line. He already has two teeth on the bottom, and I think his gums look swollen on either side of those as well, so I wouldn't be too surprised if he gets two more on the bottom sometime soon.

Although all of his other teeth have taken forever even after you know they are coming, so I may still be in store of many more nightly visits from the tooth harpy.

Amazingly enough, he is very happy and cheerful during the day. He is only upset when it is time to sleep or eat. Then I guess he is unable to ignore the pain.

I love my baby. I do not like the tooth harpy.

Also of note: he may only have two stubs on the bottom and four tiny tips on the top, but he is somehow already managing to grind/clink them together. I do not like that sound. The tooth harpy must be stressing him out as well. Poor baby.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Time goes on . . .

And time goes on. Life continues. What a blessing in so many ways. I still miss Tabitha. I still think of her every day, and I'm still sad when I do. But even though she is dead, I'm not. My kids aren't. My husband isn't. And so I move forward, because that's all I'm actually capable of. Being sad won't bring her back, nor will it heal the hole in my brother's family. And so I've moved forward with time. Here is what time has brought to my family in the past week and a half.

Jill, Daniel, and I missed Jeffrey's birthday while we were in Michigan with my family. My mother-in-law made a tasty dinner and two cakes to celebrate: upside pineapple and upside peach. He's one year away from thirty now.

Jill and Danny were very happy to see their daddy again. Jeff was pretty happy to have us back.
Jill got to go to her gymnastics class twice this week to make up the one she missed during our absence. Her grandma takes her to the same place that she took Jill's daddy when he was a little boy. Jill loves it so far. My hope is that she either is better at it than I was or that she just enjoys being able to do what she can, because man that's a tough sport. I was never able to get over my fear of getting hurt to ever be any good. But I sure was funny!

Oh man. I might make you pee your pants laughing if I ever get those videos off of cassette tapes and onto this blog.
Jill's preschool class went on a field trip to the fire station. They got to walk through the truck, see the ambulance, and walk around the living quarters. Right when they were going to try on the gear, the alarm sounded and off went the firemen to go save someone. At least I hope it was off to a fire to save someone. I couldn't help but think of an ambulance that visited one of my family members recently while I was there. Too late to save. But, we're talking about living here, so I must focus!

I think the kids thought it was pretty exciting to see the truck and ambulance leave, and they were able to sing the fire fighter song they had learned to the very gracious secretary.

Maybe the fire truck and ambulance were going to rescue a kid who locked him- or herself in a room. That is a happy possibility. ;)

The field trip was interesting, and possibly my favorite part was seeing the fireplace in their living room. It was beautiful and had a very large photo of a fire inside of where a fire has probably never been lit. :)

The day after we lost Tabitha was Halloween. Jill still wanted to go trick or treating, and my mother-in-law had done a beautiful job making matching pirate costumes for Jill and Daniel. So, we spent some time at Laurie's Halloween party and then Jill did a little bit of trick or treating. When she went up to a house she would say "trick or treating" instead of "trick or treat."

Friday, November 11, 2011

Conversations with Jill

Because we all need to smile, here are some recent Jill conversations. She really does speak in complete sentences most of the time.

Set scene: I am sitting in the bathroom. (No where is sacred to these children!)

Door opens.

Jill enters.

Jill: "Mommy, will you pick up Danny?"

Me: "Oh, did he fall over?"

Jill: "Yeah, I pushed him over."

Me: "Oh, that was not very nice."

Jill: "Yeah, I pushed him over." This is said while she kicks foot out.

Me: "Did you push him with your foot?"

Jill: "Yeah with my foot."

Me: "Jill, that hurts Danny. Please don't push him."

Jill: "Okay. I will push myself."

Me: "Oh, well, be nice to yourself, but let me know how that works out for you."

Jill exits the bathroom.

An "ow" is heard from the other room.

Danny with both of his grandmas

Cousins: Annibelle, Emily, Jill, and Callie

Danny with his grandpa Boling (Pappy)

Set scene: I am sitting at the kitchen table. My mother is warming up a meal one of the kind people from our church brought.

Jill enters the room.

Jill: "I need some dinner."

Me: "Are you hungry? Bunny is getting some soup ready."

Jill: "I don't like soup."

Me: "Jill, you like taco soup."

Jill: "No, I don't."

Me: "Yes, you do."

Jill: "I don't like soup."

Me: "Jill, remember how we had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches the other day? You ate lots of that soup."

Jill: "Yeah, but I didn't like it."

Conversation ended, because Bunny and Mommy were laughing too hard.

The Summer of Tabitha Grace

Late one April evening,
with spring hovering in the night sky,
you entered into this world,
evening out our family,
filling a hole we never knew we had
until you came and fit there perfectly.

Summer passed, and you were a delight.
Oh, we endured some expected baby trials,
but you were a butterfly, a lightning bug, a shooting star.
You smiled and cooed, rolled over and laughed,
adored your big sister, watching her every move,
always so content just viewing the action.
You were so easy to love.

Fall sneaked up on us.
You met all your cousins.
You, then the youngest, completed the group.
We had big dreams of hiding in leaf piles,
of crawling, of cute costumes.

But one October morning,
winter cut our autumn short.
You were too perfect for this earth—
our borrowed angel since your birth.

And now winter chills our hearts
and sadness chokes our souls
and coldness creeps in.

But cutting through the pain,
we remember our butterfly, our firefly, our shooting star, our angel.
Remembering your bright eyes warms our hearts.
Remembering your quick smiles lightens our souls.
Remembering your happiness brings warmth again.

We do not know why six months is all you had here,
but we do know we will have so much more with you there.

And while we wait here in this world and endure this winter,
we'll never forget
the summer of Tabitha Grace.

October 31, 2011: Michelle H. Collett


Here is the link to Tabitha's obituary: link.

Here is a link to a song/poem my sister-in-law's brother wrote: link. "Taffa" is how Emily pronounces her baby sister's name. Jill calls her cousin "Taffla."

My sister-in-law (Tabitha's mom) posted some pictures and wrote about Tabitha's beautiful last few days here: link.

My sister shared a few nice pictures, too: link.

Sorry that everything has been kind of sad recently, but that's how I've been feeling. I mean, happy things still happen. Jill still makes me laugh, and Danny still smiles sweetly at me. But it is impossible to forget that we won't get to see my brother's baby smile at us for a very long time. Jill is really comforting though. Whenever I cry, she comes over, sits on my lap, pats my shoulder, and says "Mommy, it's okay."

And it is okay in that there is a God in the heavens—a Heavenly Father who loves Tabitha just as much as anyone down here does. But even knowing where her soul is doesn't change that I'd rather have her body snuggled in my brother's arms. I guess that's just my mortal perspective. However, I am very grateful for my testimony in Jesus Christ and my knowledge of the afterlife, because that is what makes this tragedy bearable even though it is still hard.

I know the day will come when it seems like the Plan of Happiness again, rather than the Plan of Endurance. And I know that Tabitha is very happy where she is.

On Death

This poem is not long enough to hold the pain I feel.
No words are eloquent enough to express my grief and sorrow.
But words are all I have.

I'm still shocked.
I'm still sad.
I'm still here.

Why is the sun still rising?
How can each second keep passing?
Why aren't you here?

tick. tick. tick.
I don't want it to, but every breath drags me further away from you.

You were supposed to live.
You were supposed to grow.
You weren't supposed to leave.

drop. drop. drop.
My tears won't bring you back.
But I can't seem to stop them from coming.
Just like I couldn't stop you from leaving.

thump. thump. thump.
My heart keeps beating—warm and loud and strong in my chest.
Yours is cold and quiet.

I guess you really are gone.

November 6, 2011: Michelle H. Collett

The beautiful baby section at Tabitha's cemetery.
Tabitha's gravesite is the one with the flowers lying on their side, 
right next to the main statue.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A perfect angel

My family is a little emptier today, and I am feeling shocked and sad.
When I think about what my loved ones are missing, I feel really bad.

I am grateful for the times I got to hold you.
I feel so blessed for the short amount of time I had to know you.

You were too perfect for this earth.
You've been an angel ever since your birth.

I am honored to have been a part of your life, Tabitha Grace.
I know the day will come when I will once again see your beautiful face.

Forever Sisters: Emily and Tabitha

My brother Dan and his little girl

Their sweet family

Danny and his cousin: Partners in crime

I'm glad Danny gave you a shoulder to lean on.

We'll never forget you, Tabitha Grace.

My brother Dan, his wife Rachel, and my niece Emily said good-bye today to their beautiful six month old Tabitha who passed away in her sleep this morning.

April 10, 2011–October 30, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Inexpensive Halloween Decorations

I have not done anything yet to decorate my house for Halloween, but luckily one of my cats has taken care of that for me!

This week, Chloe has blessed our home with two dead mice and . . . *drum roll* a disembodied squirrel head. Delightful. What is more Halloween than rotting, creepy carcasses?

I am really surprised by the squirrel though. Maybe it was sick and old or something. Or maybe Chloe is just an amazing huntress. We discovered that one last night, and in the dark we were thinking large mouse or maybe a mole, but upon closer investigation, it was definitely just a squirrel head.


Why spend money on jack-o-lanterns, fake cobwebs, and ghost cut-outs when my cat will bring stuff home for free??

Because I like you, no photos have been included in this post.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


We are finally back from our fantastic wanderings, and a longer post will soon appear, but for now I am exhausted, yet I really wanted to share these pictures! So here's a short post.

Remember how last post I wrote that Jill has just always looked really cute while enjoying a lollipop?

Tee hee.

Here is Jill enjoying her lollipop on the beach our last night there.

Here is Jill right after she dropped her lollipop on the beach. 
Not her cutest moment. But pretty funny!
(Even the wind played a role in making this picture extra awesome.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Teeth have arrived!

Daniel's two bottom teeth poked out through his gums yesterday. Fabulous. :)

Jill's wildest dream finally came true, and they let her join their family! But after about two seconds, we wanted her back. :) And the strange blur next to Michael is a jogger that I decided to only spend about one second trying to remove. I did not feel like opening Photoshop and trying to do a nicer job. It's only 6 in the morning after all.

She looks good with them though, doesn't she? tee hee

And Jill just has always looked really cute while eating lollipops.

In other family news, we are leaving in just over an hour to drive to Myrtle Beach! The sad part is that I think Cincinnati might be warmer than Myrtle Beach this weekend. It is supposed to be in the 80s here! What an October. :) Oh well. We'll still enjoy Jeff not being at work, playing in the sand, looking at the ocean, and swimming in the pool. Jill has been asking us to go to the beach for a long time, and the time is finally here. (Although she still does occasionally tell me that she is going to Pennsylvania. Haha. That trip will never be forgotten!)

And after Myrtle Beach, Jeff will come back to the grindstone, but the kids and I will join my mama for more fancy vacation in Virginia and then a wedding in West Virginia at Harpers Ferry! Yay!

Monday, October 3, 2011

I want to be a pirate when I grow up.

Pirates are not really the best role models when you consider how they were often thieves, murderers, and worse. I suppose some may have had noble purposes, but surely the lot of them were unethical. (And I guess I should realize that pirates do actually still exist today even though I always think of them in the past.)

Jill is blessed to know some really great five year old girls who don't seem to mind the age gap and play with her very well: Alexa, Lilly, and Alyssa. Alexa is one of the famous Whitney children, the family to which Jill seems to wish she belonged.

Here is one of Lilly and Jill.
(Obviously this picture was taken about two years ago.)

Alexa and Jill

I don't have any of Alyssa and Jill, but rest assured that they play well together when the occation arises. :)

The other day, Alyssa was sitting in the back of the car with Jill. She said, "I want to be a doctor when I grow up. What do you want to be, Jill?" Jill replied, "I want to be a pirate."

Jill is obviously very fixated on Halloween. I do not know if she yet realizes that she will "grow up" some day and be big like mommy. She does know, however, that she really wants to be a pirate and that Danny is going to be a pirate also. A few months ago, Jill said she wanted to be a bear. Then she picked the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Halloween board book from the library. In that book, Mickey Mouse himself is a pirate. So what does Jill want to be? A pirate, of course. Thank you, Mickey.

I have nothing against Halloween pirate costumes. I was one many years myself. I just think it is somewhat interesting how much influence Mickey Mouse has on Jill.

And I can't wait until my amazing mother-in-law is finished with the matching pirate costumes.

Daniel is really crawling now. He never crawls for really long periods of time, but he gets where he wants to go and he pulls himself up to stand whenever possible. He also loves Cheerios and any food that he can get in his mouth. He loves mirrors, too.

Jill continues to attend "Hammer face" every first Saturday of the month. ("Hammer face" is what Jill calls "Kid Workshops at Home Depot." There is always face painting at our store (maybe at all locations—I don't know), and the very first time she went with her daddy, she asked to have a hammer painted on her face. She asks throughout the month if she can go to hammer face, and I sadly have to tell her it is only once a month. It is completely free, which is great! And sometimes there are special events going on, too. Like this month, there was a hay maze. Jeff had to work, so Jill went with her grandpa, and they made this great helicopter! (Which Jill already broke by throwing down the stairs. It looks good, but sadly it did not fly. Ha.)

Isn't it cute that they give the kids little aprons just like the employees? You get a pin for every craft you make. Jill has a lot of bling! :) I think I am going to see if Jill's joy school wants to go on a fieldtrip there. It is a lot of fun.

My church had General Conference this past weekend. It happens twice a year, and we get to hear from the prophet, apostles, and other general auxiliary leaders. It is fantastic! Every time, I leave feeling refreshed and . . . eager. I always feel so encouraged to improve and so loved. If you're curious what the prophet and others said, all of the sessions are online, just click the "General Conference" link at the beginning of this paragraph.

This weekend, Jeff and I finally get to show Jill what the beach and ocean are! We are going to Myrtle Beach for five days. I am excited! :)

Oh, I found another cute Lilly and Jill one.