Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Happy 5th Birthday, Maggie!

 My baby is 5. 
5 long years since I felt a little kick in my belly, 5 years since I smelled that sweet, fresh from heaven scent, 5 long years since I had that excited anticipation waiting for baby to arrive. Oh my, I can hardly believe it's true. 
But it is. My baby M turned 5 years old on November 1st. 
He chose crepes, sausage, strawberries, and oj for his birthday breakfast. He opened one gift of paint and paint brushes and used them to paint beautiful pictures until it was time to get ready for church. He was sung to at church, got a candy bar from the bishop, a silly straw from the primary presidency, and a treat and gift card to Toy's R Us from his incredibly thoughtful primary teacher, Sis. Peterson. He was having the best day ever. 

After church we played games and decorated for his party. I made his dinner of choice (Mario Brother's favorite dinner, apparently, FYI) which was spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, and broccoli. 

We had a little family party that evening with grandparents. He chose chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and chocolate ice cream. The boy clearly likes his chocolate.

 He received some very fun gifts and all of his dreams came true (he actually said that, haha). He got kinetic sand along with a sand box and sand toys, some other stuff that I can't remember right now, and a giant Star Wars build-your-own light-saber. You can add all sorts of pieces to it and change it and take it apart and put it back together. That was what he really wanted more than anything and was so excited to get it. My parents got him a cool Cars toy. It was Mack truck and he has two pools attached to him. He got Lightening Mcqueen and another Car's character and they change color from hot to cold water. He loves playing with that thing at the sink forever. I love his imagination, he is so easily entertained. Andy's parents got him a giant, snuggly Car's blanket and some money. Grandma D got him a flashlight, bubbles, and a toy truck. He also got money from other great grandparents and aunts and uncles. Grandma Marge didn't make it that night, but came later that week to bring him a treat (a donut, his fave) and some money. He had so much fun at his party and loved every second. He didn't want to go to bed and stop playing! He had to sleep with half of his new toys. So dang cute.

Also, I like to refer to this birthday as the "Eyes Closed in Every Photo" Birthday. The kid could not keep his eyes open! It was pretty funny.

See what I mean about the closed eyes?! Haha! 

Magnus at 5:
Ohhhhh, this sweet, crazy, awesome child of mine. It's so funny how such a tiny person can change you so completely. I remember Magnus when he was a tiny newborn, and I remember always realizing that this would be my last of everything. The last time I nursed a baby, the last time I was up in the night with a newborn, the last time I would feed a baby baby food (which I always despised), and so on and so forth. I remember telling myself to always enjoy it and cherish it, because it wouldn't ever happen again. And I did. I always enjoyed every second with that baby boy. Of course, he made it easy because he was such an easy-going kiddo with such a relaxed personality and zero drama. He always has been. It is one of my most favorite things about him, his easy-going personality.

Magnus has a grand imagination and can turn anything into a toy. He can entertain himself for hours (thankfully) and really enjoys just playing with toys in the playroom. He absolutely loves play-doh and his kinetic sand. He likes art, but pretty much just scribbles still and doesn't realize he is supposed to actually stay in the lines. He also likes playing with friends and he has really enjoyed making so many friends at preschool this year. His favorites are Liam, Beckham, and Braylie. Liam is of course, his cousin, and Beckham and Braylie are close neighbors. I am good friends with both of their moms, so they are together often at one of our houses. Magnus also really likes anything his older brothers do, so he is very in to Minecraft, Pokemon, and Star Wars. He loves watching movies and cartoons on TV.

Magnus really enjoys playing outside. He loves to ride his scooter and bike with training wheels. I am hoping we can teach him to ride a 2-wheeler next summer. He loves to jump on the trampoline and especially loves when someone comes out to jump with him. He's always just a little slower than all of his friends whenever they run races or play tag in the backyard. I'm sure his body is still healing from all of the trauma it went through a year ago. Plus, he is so much bigger than all of his friends, and he is constantly playing catch-up in the coordination department.

Magnus like preschool, but doesn't always want to go. It surprises me because all of his friends are there, but I finally decided that I think learning must be difficult for him.  His teacher has been candid with me and told me that he is definitely behind his peers as far as learning goes. He has a harder time grasping concepts and remembering letters. He writes well, if you tell him how to write it, but if you just tell him to write a letter M for example, he really has to think about it before he does it, if he remembers at all. I was definitely warned of this from his doctors. He might catch-up, and he might not. I don't care either way. We will help him as he needs it and take it as it comes. It definitely is weird though, seeing as how all of his older siblings are so dang smart. Just another reason to hate cancer and what it has taken away from my baby.

Magnus loves food now. He used to be a terrible eater, before all of his cancer stuff. We know now that he was just nauseous all of the time and just never wanted to eat. He will try pretty much anything now, and hardly ever gags anymore.  His favorites are cheerios, bananas, pears, yogurt, string cheese, and turkey wraps. He has turned into a good little eater and after not growing for about 6 months after his treatments were complete, he has all of the sudden grown a whole bunch and his clothes are getting too small. I am so relieved because I thought there might be something wrong with his hormone balance, which can be a problem in brain cancer kids. Hopefully I worried for nothing!

Magnus' personality has definitely changed since all of his surgery and treatments, but it seems like he is getting back to normal, especially over the last few months. He used to throw royal tantrums and just scream and yell and thrash and hit. The doctor told us it was normal due to the meds he was on and all of the changes he had been through. He said as he healed, he would get back to himself, and he has. I am so relieved. It was so hard to have this "new" child and not know how to treat him or discipline him. He was so different and definitely not himself. We rarely see that side of him anymore and can usually calm him fairly quickly if we do.

Magnus is absolutely beloved in our family. We all adore him, and he is definitely spoiled rotten. He is so very special to all of us and we can't get enough of his hilarious antics. He is always making us laugh and he is juts the sweetest little guy. We are so lucky to have him in our family and just can't believe he is ours.

We love you M! Happy 5th Birthday!

PS In regards to the title of this post-- When Magnus was born, and people found out what his name would be, someone joked with me that we would be calling him Maggie before we knew it. I insisted that we wouldn't. But we do. All. The. Time. At home that is pretty much what he goes by. Poor kid. Haha!

Friday, December 4, 2015

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like... A Hallmark Movie!

Do you guys watch those super cheesy Hallmark movies at Christmas time? I love those things. Andy and I found out that we both secretly loved them a few years ago but we were both too embarrassed to tell the other. And then one night awhile back, he came downstairs to find me wrapping gifts and sobbing to the end of a Hallmark special. 
Oh my, we laughed and laughed. And now he records them and we snuggle up with hot cocoa on the couch to watch them together. And we still laugh and laugh, but now we laugh at the cheesy goodness together. Christmas is the best. Every year it feels like it comes faster and it is over too soon. I'm determined to enjoy it to the best of my abilities this year. One cheesy Hallmark movie at a time ;)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Checkin' In

Hello! Guess what I should be doing but I am taking a break from to do instead?! I should be studying for my third anatomy exam that is tomorrow, but I decided it might be a good time to blog instead?! Because it sure has been awhile since I just sat at this computer and rambled away the thoughts that are in my brain, or as Magnus calls it, my bwain.

I was reading through some old posts and I used to ramble a lot more. And I really loved reading my thoughts from a few years ago. And wow, I am sure an over-sharer. Oh well, my life is an open book and I wear my heart on my sleeve. Just the way I am, I guess. And I'm too old to change, haha. Just kidding. My grandma says that,

Just some thoughts on this chilly day..... we have so many changes coming our way, and some that have already commenced. Andy decided to stop pursuing his dream (cough, cough.... it may have been a little more my dream than his) to become a PA. After having a very intense discussion about how much we hate being starving students (going on three years here, people, with SO freaking many challenges that have come our way between all that-- but what's life without challenges, am I right?!) (Oh, and also after discussing that while Andy enjoys the medical field, he had decided that he doesn't really care what he's doing as long as he can support our family comfortably, which we have been anything but the last few years) he decided to just apply for a job doing something similar to what he was doing over 4 years ago (that he had a lot of experience in) and he got the job. So he quit his hospital job, discontinued going to school for PA req's, and re-enrolled to finish up his bachelor's in Sales Management which is what he has years of experience in, and what he was doing before we moved back to Utah almost 4 years ago. He is making way more money now which means I can quite working and be a MOM AGAIN! 

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. I have missed being a stay at home mommy. I started working right before Magnus turned 3 years old. And now he is 5! I have been working full time since July and while I haven't posted many personal things going on in our lives on this blog, there have been a lot of ups and downs over the past little bit. Lots going on, lots of "stuff" and lots of tears. Happy stuff sprinkled in, too. But seriously, my last day is a week from Friday at my job and I am so excited to not have to work anymore. For those wondering, yes, I am still going to be going to school, but that will seem so much easier when I just have school as opposed to work AND school. What a difference. I am so grateful for all of the experience I have gained (which has really helped me in my school/career path) as I have chosen not to pursue nursing any longer. 

It is so funny to me how so much can change in a couple of years. A couple years ago, I KNEW that I wanted to become a nurse. and now I KNOW that I don't. I had a very amazing and inspiring biology teacher two years ago who turned me onto the idea of Genetic Counseling. She noticed my knack for genetics and talked to me about it after class one day. I hadn't even ever heard of a genetic counselor, but right away I knew that's what I wanted to do. I learned it is a Master's program and the U of U is the only school in Utah currently with a program. I figured I would still get a BS of nursing (because I needed a Bachelor's degree to apply for the master's Program anyway) and maybe work for a few years and then apply to the Master's program. But after working in the hospital, I realized that I don't really want to be a nurse. I love patient care and the interaction I get, but I decided I would like that more in a counseling aspect rather than medical care aspect. Another side note: We worked with a genetic counselor when Magnus was diagnosed. They are currently doing a (years long) study to see if Ependymoma is genetically linked. Anyway, I still have a super long ways to go, and who knows? Maybe I'll change my mind again. But that is the plan for now. I currently have one more semester in the spring at SLCC and then I will graduate with my ASS and transfer to the U. I will have gone to SLCC for a total of 7 semesters and 3 years only for my Associate's degree, but I have to cut myself some slack. I am a mom to 5 kids, I am a wife, I worked between 25-30 hours a week and more currently 36 hours a week, my son with diagnosed with cancer amidst all of it, and during those three years I have had 3 different jobs and Andy has also had 3 different jobs. We also got through two CNA courses, and Andy completed his EMT certificate. While neither of us want to be in a medical clinical setting anymore, we wouldn't trade all that we have learned. Knowledge is power and I love all of my newfound knowledge from my experiences working at the hospital.

Wow, writing all of that out feels good. It makes me feel accomplished and helps me to realize that I can do hard things and that I can also cut myself some slack. Andy's and my married life has been anything but easy, but we are pretty freaking strong to have endured all that we have. 

And just for funsies, a few other fun things going on 'round these parts...
~At the beginning of December Magnus was asked to be the face of Make-a-wish for  special fundraiser. I have to speak for 5 minutes at the event and I am kinda nervous...
~We officially have our cruise dates for Magnus' Make-a-wish trip. We are going on a Western Caribbean cruise with ports in Grand Cayman, Jamaica, and Haiti and we set sail in February! I am beyond excited. We received our itinerary in the mail last week and I have read through it so many times. 
~ Magnus does not know about the info above as of yet. They are holding a Wish Granting Party for him in a few weeks and apparently it is a pretty big deal. I am excited to see his face.
~Jonah, Daphne, and Baron are busy with indoor soccer. Laylah is busy with dance. Life continues on and is so very enjoyable. 
~The semester ends on Dec 10th and then I have 2 finals the next week. I will have a WHOLE MONTH off from school and work. I won't even know what to do with myself, because even when I was out of school, I still had work! And now I won't have anything! It's weird. 
~Christmas is in 31 days!! And I am planning on shopping til I drop this weekend, we are getting family photos on Saturday, and I will order my Christmas cards by early next week, as well as decorate my house in Christmas Magic! GOALS!
~Thanksgiving is the day after tomorrow! And I have to work! Poopy! 
~One of the things I am most excited about with not having to work any longer is to get back into shape. I have gained 20 pounds over the last year since M's diagnosis. No bueno. Admittedly, I have not really eaten healthfully, nor have I exercised regularly, but I will have time once again! I lost 48 pounds once and I can do it again! Well, I don't need to lose that much, so it should be easier, right? Riiiiight?!

And that is all for now on the Collette home front. Lot's going on, as usual. Just the way I like it. Now, back to studying. No rest for the weary, or as I like to refer to myself, a Glutton for Punishment. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ohhhh, October--I Heart You! Also, Happy Halloween!

Holy moly, this may be the longest post ever. But I know I've said that before, so probably not. I squished everything from October into one big, ole post, even Halloween. 

So, here we gooooo....

The girl's rode in their first actual riding competition. It was a trail ride through the gully and along the way there were different obstacles. They were judged based on how well they were able to get their horse to do the obstacle. Miss Luna was having some feet problems, so at the last minute Kaylie borrowed a friend's horse for Laylah to ride. His name is Alek, and he is a big, huge sweetie pie. Daphne rode her favorite girl, Sage. She is a family friend's horse who let's us borrow her so Kaylie can give my girl's lessons.

It poured through most of the competition, so the girl's were a freezing, soggy mess by the time they finished. But they both did amazing, and couldn't have done it without their incredible Auntie Kaylie (who rode her other horse, Nika). She is seriously the best. They have learned so much from her as their teacher and love horses and riding so much because of her. 

Just a lovely photo of the gully that they rode all throughout.
Kaylie's awesome boyfriend took all of these great photos for me because I had soccer games and football games for the boys that morning.

I arrived right after the girl's had finished. We waited around for a little while and ate lunch and then the awards started. The girls both placed in their division and we could not have been more excited for them! Daphne got 3rd place and Laylah got 4th. So exciting!

Beautiful rainbow after a day full of rain.

My sissy poo turned 35. I love her. I made her this hilarious cake that ended up completely falling apart.

Just walking my cute boy to preschool, which happens to be around the corner form our house, 4 houses away. So handy. He likes to walk by himself these days and I watch out the window until I can't see him anymore. But by the time I can't see him he is to his friends house and they walk the rest of the way together.... which is only two more house lengths, haha :)

I love Lucky Charms. I rarely ever eat them, but when I do I sit and pick out all of the marshmallows. I want to buy just a bag of cereal marsh,allows. I found one on Amazon, but they are like 10 bucks! Someday...

See? I told you I liked me Lucky Charms...

I came out to my car after class one morning and someone (um, Andy) had left these beautiful roses on my front seat. There was a card, too.... signed by me secret admirer. They smelled sooo good.

Silly puppy sticking her head out the window. She usually hates the car, so I was happy that she seemed to be enjoying herself for once ;)

My big baby on my small lap.

Jonah and Daphne both play a lot of soccer, and have for years. They are also both growing a ton. One day Jonah started complaining that his ankle/heel was hurting after a game. I had him ice and elevate it and it seemed to get better. Gradually he was complaining about it after every game and practice. He would ice it, but it would still be sore. Then all of the sudden Daphne started complaining of the same problem in the exact same spot on the exact same foot. Weird. I used that amazing little Google tool and found that it was likely to be something called Sever's Disease which sounds like it is a big problem, but is actually quite common. I took them both to the podiatrist just to be sure. They both had x-rays done of their feet and exams. And guess what? Dr. Mom was right. They both use inserts to play now and they have some exercises they do to help strengthen and make their muscle more flexible. But neither of them have complained about it since we started doing all of that. Hopefully they will be fine from here on out. It did make me nervous when the Dr. told me that Jonah has a very tight Achilles tendon and will need to be very careful as he gets older. It is on the same foot that Andy's tore on. Eeesh.

Jonah and I went and tried on some new glasses since it's been awhile since he has gotten new ones and his are hanging on by a thread. I love these ones:
But while we were there Jonah reminded me that I told him that when he was 12, he could get contacts. Ummmm.... Jonah turns 12 in July. What?! So crazy. While I absolutely love Jonah in glasses and can't imagine him not wearing them (he's had glasses since he was barely 4 years old, almost 8 years!) I guess it's time to try contacts. He has an appointment with his eye doctor next month and we will discuss contacts. So I left those cute glasses on the shelf for now :(

I just had to post this annoying thing for you all to see. While I absolutely love my neighborhood and don't plan on leaving anytime soon, I hate having to deal with this:
There are two different sets of train tracks right outside our neighborhood. One of them runs Trax, and one runs Frontrunner and also these HUGE, LONG, and SLOOOOWWWWW cargo trains. I have sat at this stop for 10 minutes before. It is highly annoying. The kids have been late to school before because of the train, I have been late picking them up, and I have been late to various other things because I didn't plan for a train stop. Ugh. They bug.

We had a super fun night together as a family at Cornbelly's. Daphne's soccer team went together and we got tickets to go along with them.

We had a great time doing all of the activities, eating dinner and treats, going through haunted houses, and just being together. It was a blast.

Pretending to be lost in the lame corn maze.

Oh my goodness, we had sports galore in October. Everything was finishing up and it was the biggest relief when it was all over. I absolutely love watching my kids play sports and watch them gain so much from the experience, but it is also nice when every Saturday isn't filled up with one game after another.
Jonah and Baron's football seasons ended. They both played amazingly well and Jonah scored so many touchdowns and had so many interceptions. He is really struggling with the concept that he can't play both soccer and football competitively and that he has to choose one. He loves both so much. He has to decide in the spring which he would rather do, so we shall see.
Baron is having the same dilemma, although I feel like he has already decided that he would rather play football. We have done competitive soccer for years, so football will be a whole new thing for us if that is what he decides he wants to do.

Silly cousins playing dress up.

Daphne ad a fun Daddy-Daughter date for activity days. They ate dinner, dressed up for photos, and did some other fun stuff.

Daphne and I went to see her new ENT doctor for an assessment to see if she needed her tonsils out. She has had strep throat 3 or 4 times this year plus mono, so her tonsils weren't doing anything for her and it was time to say bye-bye to them. He looked at them, told me they needed to come out, and I set up her appointment for her surgery, done and done.
I had tried this cool new thing with my hair and Daphne took a photo for me while we were waiting. My hair needs to be a little longer though because it fell out after only a couple hours. Cute while it lasted, though!

This is Jonah, hiding in the front seat because I was embarrassing him by having a dance party in the car when my favorite childhood song came on, "We Built This City" and while I was having a grand ole' time dancing, he kept slinking further and further down and said, "Mom! People are looking at you!!" Oh my word, I thought it was the funniest thing ever and opened up my windows and started singing at the top of my lungs, along with my dancing. He wanted to melt through the floor. Hilarious.

Some ladies in my ward got together for  "Witchy" night. We had a potluck dinner and then they headed out to Gardner Village for the Witch's Parade and dance party. I headed home after dinner to do homework, but it was fun while it lasted :)

This kid can sleep anywhere. Seriously, it's crazy!
FLAT on his face.

I took the opportunity to examine his scars. They are all looking pretty dang good. So grateful for amazing surgeons.

My parent's had their annual Halloween Party and it was so much fun, as usual. Yummy dinner and treats, games and prizes, and a spooky movie to top it all off. Such a blast with cousins.
My mom and dad are so cute and the best ever.

We got invited to a trick-or-treating activity at Make-A-Wish. Andy took the kids because I was at work. They trick or treated and got tons of candy, and they also frosted and decorated sugar cookies. They had a lot of fun.

My silly, little study buddy peeking her head up for a quick kiss and pat on the head. She sits under the desk by my feet while I spend hours at the computer doing homework.

And finally, we have Halloween! Actually, the day before Halloween since it was on a Saturday this year. The kids all had their school parades and parties on Friday. Magnus had so much fun at his preschool party. He brought donuts for the treat.

BAron's costume came with a mask but he couldn't wear it to school, so I whipped up this skull make-up about 15 minutes before we had to go to school. Not too shabby.
My cute sister is pregnant with baby #6! It's her 5th boy. Her house is crazy, basically ;)

I LOVE THE HALLOWEEN PARADE! It warms my heart and embarrasses my kids, win-win.
Daphne's class did their traditional Halloween Haunted Houses. Jonah did them when he had her teacher and Baron will do them next year when he has her teacher.

Fun Halloween festivities with friends

We decided to take our kids to a haunted house this year, minus Magnus. They all enjoy being spooked and there is the perfect family Haunted House (it's actually a whole village) up at This Is The Place Park. They were all sooooo nervous to be going to a real Haunted House.
Andy and I have been here before and while it is definitely spooky and creepy, it is not gory or gross at all. It is so much fun. The kids absolutely loved it. They couldn't stop talking about it. It took us about an hour and a half to walk through.

We rode a train back to our car afterwards. They begged to make it a yearly tradition. It was seriously such a blast. While I miss my little babies, it is so much fun to have older kids that I want to hang out with.
We had to stop for hot chocolate and donuts afterwards, of course. It was  great night and I can't wait til Magnus is old enough to join us.

Like I mentioned above, all of the sports ended this month. Daphne's soccer, Jonah's football and soccer, and Baron's football and soccer. This was Baron's last soccer game on Halloween morning. His team played so well this season. He's the giant in the middle.

After soccer, we went home and carved our pumpkins for Halloween night.

I left to go get ready and came back to this mess. I finished carving everyone's pumkins and put them on the front porch with a candle inside.

The kids all got their costumes on, ready for Halloween night!
Daphne was a cute little nerd

Baron was a skeleton

Jonah was a cowboy

Laylah was Cat Woman

And Magnus was a ninja

Happy Halloween!

We broke from tradition this year and instead of going to our neighborhood soup potluck and trick or treating in the neighborhood, we headed up to Logan to watch Andy's brother David play in the first exhibition game of the year. They have trick-or-treating in the Spectrum and the kids got lots of candy. We went to dinner at Chik-Fil-A with Andy's family before heading over, but after we arrived we had a fun night eating candy, hanging out together, and watching the Aggie's kill the Oklahoma Pan-Handlers.

Andy's mom had these shirts made for all of the ladies. It has a sparkly, blinged out #13 on it, David's number.

Just eating lots of candy!

Reading laffy taffy jokes

All of the kids were getting super restless by the end of the game. The Aggie's ended up winning by 40 points or something like that.

Yay Uncle David!

It was a fun Halloween, and definitely different than ones in the past. October was a fun, crazy, and busy month. Bring it on, November!