Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dear Collin,

Remember this day? I will never forget it.

It was one year ago today. I will never forget the feeling I had when the van pulled up to the children's center and, as sleepy as you were, you still saw me and reached for me. It was the best day of my life. Thanks for letting me be your mommy! I love you!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Game Night

There are a few things I'm still learning about Collin. One of those things is that he can be rather competitive. Santa brought him Candy Land for Christmas. One night, I thought we'd have a game night. We had a pizza picnic party in the family room (note to self, in the future when you have such brilliant ideas, please remember that one child does NOT really minimize the mess) and then broke out the game.

See that triumphant grin on his face? It's because he's pointing to his little blue gingerbread man who has just won the game. Me? I'm the red gingerbread man WAAAY at the beginning of the trail. Stupid gingerbread card. The current standings? Collin 3 Mommy 1.

In order to stave off further humiliation, I let him break out the camera...

And this is what happens when you let the 3 year old "push the button"

Alright little man, we're scheduled for a rematch. And mommy's bringing her A-game. Yeah, that doesn't really scare anyone else either...

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm A Ventriloquist?

The night before Collin's surgery, I took him to Build-A-Bear to make a special hospital buddy. It was the first time there, for both of us. Overall it was a ton of fun, but we didn't like any of the pre-recorded sound options. So instead, we opted for the do-it-yourself option and recorded me singing a song to Collin. It seemed like a good idea at the time... I mean look at that face! (Collin's, not Rocket's, although his is pretty cute too...)

Fast forward two and a half months, to the wee morning hours (and by wee, I'm talkin' 1:45am) when I wake up groggily to hear my disembodied voice singing throughout the house. Collin had rolled over on Rockets arm. Still... CREEPY!!!! Like I said, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

Monday, January 17, 2011

Once There Was A Snowman

Collin has been asking to go play in the snow all winter, but I'd been putting him off. Until this day... It happened to be a Saturday, and we had nothing else to do, so why not bundle up and head out into subfreezing temperatures and play in the frozen water?

I can hardly contain my excitement!

And with that, we ventured outside to build our first snowman. Collin was so excited to actually be in the snow. Unfortunately the snow had melted enough to show us a "gift" Tucker left for us in the backyard, but let's not dwell on that, shall we?

It was a pretty wet, pretty heavy snow, so rolling was easy,

stacking, not so much... apparently our "Frosty" needed some implants...

What a proud little boy!!

Soon after, he discovered yet another way to torture the dog.
Sorry, Tucker... I tried to stop him, but it was just so cute!
It's all fun and games, until somebody falls face first in the snow...

Then it's time to head inside for the best part about playing in the snow... HOT CHOCOLATE!!
The whole next week, Collin looked outside to make sure Frosty was still there. When he finally melted, so did Collin. We had to have a little talk about what the sun does to snow and that we could build him again the next time it snowed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Dear Collin,

I've been thinking about this post for awhile now. Today marks the one year anniversary of the day that changed both of our lives forever. Last week, Auntie Chareyl needed some paperwork to finish your file with the adoption agency. As I was looking for it, I came across some of the emails that were sent the night of the earthquake and early the next morning. I remember the day of the earthquake pretty clearly. It was just like any other day at the office really. Until a little after 4:00 when I listened to a voice mail message that I didn't understand from my friend Tara. She was asking if I knew whether or not you were okay, I had no idea what she was talking about. Then I went to MSN to check out the news. At first, I thought it was just a little tremor, no big deal. I called Lolo and we both decided it was probably nothing out of the ordinary. Then I got home from work and turned on CNN. That's when I saw the first picture of the Presidential Palace. That's when my heart stopped.

Truthfully, that's about all I've been able to handle in the reminiscing department. Last night, I tried to look at this blog from January of last year, but as soon as I start reading, I felt that anxiety, fear and overwhelming sadness I felt those first few day when I didn't know if you were okay, or if you were scared, or if you were fed or...I had to stop. I don't know what you went through those first days, from the accounts I've heard from some of the older kids, it was pretty horrific. Even knowing you were just down the hall, tucked safely in your bed wasn't enough to stop the heartbreak. Apparently, I'm not quite ready to deal with that. Maybe I never will be. I don't do well with human suffering, and I know that your countrymen are still hurting. A lot.

I think about how you are still afraid of loud noises and how you run, not away, but to me when you hear them. I can't imagine how scared you were that day. I think of those big brown eyes and how you question EVERYTHING. I wonder what you were thinking when the world started shaking and people started panicking.

I looked at the book Aunt Lolo is making to commemorate the one year anniversary of the earthquake. I hope you will look at it often. I hope you will truly understand how many MIRACLES were granted in the two weeks between the quake and the night I held you in my arms for good. I hope you know how many people gave up eating, sleeping and essentially living to get you and your friends home. I hope you know and never doubt how much you are loved. You and your friends were the catalyst for a lot of faith and a lot of prayers being sent to a loving Heavenly Father. Uncle Brent, Auntie Chareyl, Scott and the rest of the people we called Team Hope, literally risked their lives to go find you and bring you home to me.

I also hope you will never forget those who are still there. Harry and his family, Nadia, Ralph and his family and of course sweet Jess. The Auntie's, that mommy never really met, who apparently just started grabbing children and throwing them out the door when the walls started falling down, and thereby probably saving your life. Then taking those they could and just running, not knowing if their own children and families were okay. Harry, who already had so many people to look after and take care of, and who had already lost so much himself, still made sure that you were okay. I don't know if it's possible to inherit something from someone you're not related to, but if it is, I hope you will be strong and compassionate like Harry. I hope you will always keep them in your heart. I hope you will always be as grateful to them as I am. They are such strong, amazing people and I'm so glad that they were part of your life, I hope we will be able to see them all again. I heard someone talk recently about how difficult it can be to "inherit" someone else's goal. I think in a way, you've done that. So many, gave so much to get you home. You have a lot to live up to. So do I. I have no doubt you will. I still have a hard time reconciling the suffering that the earthquake caused with the joy I feel at having you home with me. It seems wrong to be so happy, when so many innocent people are still struggling. But then I look into your big brown eyes and that confusion is replaced by love and gratitude. You are the most incredible little boy and I still can't believe that I am the one that gets to be your mommy. I love you my sweet son!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Collin's First Christmas!

In our family, a little marathon training comes in handy when celebrating the holidays. Don't believe me? Keep reading... It started Christmas Eve when Collin got new Christmas PJ's. Then we re-enacted the Christmas Story with mommy's nativity set. The angel, who apparently dive bombed from the heavens, is recovering nicely from her concussion. Thanks for asking. Then it was The Night Before Christmas and Collin was tucked snugly into his bed.

Then it was time for Santa's helper to lay a little groundwork (seriously, are THAT many twisty things required for ANY toy) and leave a little snack for his impending arrival.

Christmas morning, Collin heard a strange noise coming from the family room. We were on our way to investigate, when he noticed that Santa didn't finish his milk and cookies.

Collin, being the big helper that he is, jumped in to help him out... (that's a cookie in his hand and pure delight on his face at the realization that he gets to eat it before breakfast) Then back to that noise...

Santa had left him a Mickey Mouse Choo-Choo. Note to Santa, you could have stopped there...

Note the complete disregard for all of the other gifts under the tree.

I finally managed to tear him away from Mickey and tried to draw his attention to the other toys Santa had left. We had celebrated his birthday earlier in the month which was the first time Collin had ever received gifts. Apparently Christmas concept is a little confusing still. I handed him a gift and he got a confused look on his face and said "It my birthday?" We'll work out the details later... :)

When the gifts had been opened, Collin felt the need to go shopping. And Rocket got to go with him.
After breakfast with mommy, we loaded up the car and went to Grandma Great's house. You can tell the merriment of the day is already catching up with him.

At Grandma Great's house, you sit patiently and wait for everyone to get their gift. I don't think Collie had any idea why he was waiting so patiently, but he did it anyway.
And it was well worth it. We love our new dinosaur book. Thanks Grandma!!

After Grandma Great's we headed to Grandma's house for a little more Christmas cheer. About 40 minutes away. I figured Collin would fall asleep in the car and take a little nap. Wishful thinking. He fell asleep as I turned the corner right BEFORE Grandma's house. We did manage to get a few cute pictures before suffering a complete meltdown. Total celebration time, 11 hours and 27 minutes, give or take. Told you, training comes in handy. We had fabulous Christmas, made all the merrier because Collin was here to celebrate. Merry Christmas my sweet boy!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Can We Build It?

I was a little nervous to tackle a new build it yourself project after our temple/swamp thing experience, but it's a gingerbread house. How hard can it be right? Yeah, right. Even the fact that it had a tray with pre-made slots for the pieces to go in didn't save it from the architectural genius that is...well, me. First we laid out all of the pieces. Look at Collin's eyes, so bright with anticipation. Until...

Mommy put the sides of the house in backwards and broke the top of the house... Oh well, that part was gonna go in the back anyway.

Finally, after reading the directions, again, we had this:

Not bad right? Just don't look to closely at the sleigh... I'd learned a thing or two after the swamp thing incident, so the candy for our house is outside the camera shot and WELL outside Collin's reach.

This was his favorite part. Of course. We did manage to get more candy on the house than in his tummy, but it was touch and go there for awhile.

Take that Handy Manny AND Bob the Builder! Unfortunately, the candy was a little too heavy for the icing. The next morning, the whole front of house had slid down. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Look Who's Three!!

The judge we had wouldn't let us change the date of Collin's birthday (something about not having any definitive proof he wasn't born on Christmas day) so it's officially the 25th of December. But, hey, we're party people, so we thought we'd do our family celebration at the beginning of the month instead. We had lots of family and friends come. And LOTS of food (note the 2 family sized crock pots on the counter)

Collin was thrilled that everyone was there to play with him.

Especially grandpa and uncle Jed (the handsome bearded guy in the top left of the picture above this one; in case you were wondering...)

Then it was time for presents. This was the first time in his life that Collin had ever received gifts, so he was a little confused at what to do.

Good thing there were lots of cousins there to help!

After a while, he figured it out...

Collin got lots of fun, and loud (a train whistle uncle Nate? Really??) Then it was on to the food!

One of Collin's FAVORITE dinners is ham spaghetti. Can you tell?

And then the cake. This one was Collin's. Thanks for the assist in blowing out the candles Kaycie!

Eventually he did dive in... (please note the train whistle in Tara's hand; like I said, a very LOUD night)

This is the cake the rest of us ate. And in honor of the big day, here are the 3 things I absolutely love most about Collin:

1 - Collin is ALWAYS active and has fun doing just about anything. (except doctor's appointments, but really, who likes those?)
2 - Collin has a smile and laugh that lights up an entire room and everyone that's in it. It's so fun to watch his little personality develop. (amazing what can happen when you actually feel good)
3 - We're celebrating THIS birthday at OUR home with OUR family and not in an orphanage in Haiti!

I love you so much Collin! Thanks for letting me be your mommy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

So, You're The Guy I've Been Hearing So Much About..

It was that time of year again, the annual family Christmas party, complete with a visit from the jolly 'ole elf himself. Our Santa does a great job. All of the little ones get corralled in grandma's family room and when Santa gets there, he shakes his bells at the top of the stairs to get their attention. This generally results in mass hysteria. For some, it's delight, but for others, it's pure terror. Since this was Collin's first experience with the big guy, I wasn't sure which would apply. For a week or two beforehand, I'd talked Santa up quite a bit, but still, the only Santa he'd seen was the cartoon version on TV. When we heard the bells shake that night, I was all set to calm and comfort my terrified two year old. (Creepy red eyes and all...)
Turns out I needn't have worried. As soon as Collin realized who was responsible for the bell ringing, he screamed "Santa!" and ran straight for him.

Santa needed a little help with the jingle bells, so he asked for volunteers. Something loud that involved dancing? Collie was all over it!

When it was Collin's turn to sit on Santa's knee, Santa told him that he'd read about Collin in the newspaper. Bet you didn't know the Daily Herald made it all the way to the North Pole, did 'ya? He then went on to explain why he was at our party and why Collin got to sit on his knee. (Thanks Santa!) When he asked him what he wanted for Christmas, Collin looked a little confused and said "Christmas lights?" That was easy, since they'd been up at our house since Thanksgiving... :)

Afterward, Collin wanted to give him five and "knuckles". Yeah, they're tight like that... Not a bad first experience with Santa!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Collin was completely confused by the Christmas tree. While I was putting it up, he kept asking why there was a tree in the house. He's a good sport though, so when I pulled out the decorations, he was willing to help, there were trains after all...

After a brief lesson on how you hang ornaments (mostly involving me talking and Collin looking at me like I was crazy) he was all set to hang his first ornament.

Looks like a pretty good spot to me!
"Look mom I did it!!!"

After that, there was no stopping him...

Apparently mommy didn't quite explain that the ornaments are supposed to be spread throughout the tree...
And the finished product...

When we got done decorating, I went out of the room for a minute. When I came back, Collin had taken down a toy soldier, a train and a sled. I asked him what he was doing and he told me the soldier was going for a ride on the train and the train was going for a ride on the sled. Hmm, hope Santa sees a choo-choo train in his future...