It’s been a while!

Hey guys 🙂 It’s been a while since I last posted, so thought it was time for an update! As most of you learned via IG or FB, in early December, Doug and I got a nice little surprise when we learned that I was preggers. When we initially learned the news, it kind of went unspoken, mainly because we were too busy to talk about it and also… because we really were surprised. I like to say Doug was in serious denial. How did we go from 2-5 in 1 month?! We always talked about having at least 1 or 2 more (let’s be honest… I always wanted 5 or 6), but when all of this happened we decided we should wait a while, get adjusted, and decide when and if the time was right. Well… God had other plans. And I’m thinking Shannon had something to do with it, too. Like “Puff! Don’t change your plans just for me, silly. I know you’re not that selfless!” HA! Also, the guy I dated for a million years before I met Doug had 7 siblings. I LOVED being over there. I even went to hang out when he wasn’t there. I still love his siblings. My mom has 5 sisters, my dad has 3 siblings, and I always wished I had more. Thank God for Janet and all of my “sister” friends!  I am so excited to give that life to my kids. I asked my mom the minute I told her “Are you more worried for YOU or ME?” She laughed and said… “Me I think!” — she was (kind of) kidding. Really everyone is SO excited for us! And now that I am not puking and feeling I need a 3 hour nap every day, I am excited, too.

10419596_10100647337876720_135340668448043444_n

We plan on NOT finding out the sex of the baby this time around. I still can’t believe it, but I was talking to my friend Carrie one day and she was like, ‘yeah I mean we found out with #1, but we didn’t with #2, and it was really the coolest thing in the world. I wish you would consider it!” And then I did consider it. My dad never wants to know, but always ends up finding out. And we decided… we have each sex already. We are going to be extremely busy leading up to the baby’s arrival, and there is really no reason to find out since the little peanut will live in our room for a few months anyway. I also think Doug thinks less money will be spent in total if I don’t know whether to buy bows or bow ties in advance. I fully intend on letting him believe this for the remainder of my pregnancy. Then we will be too sleep deprived for him to notice what I order off of Etsy and Instagram websites during late night feedings. Brilliant.

Connor wants a girl because he adores his Maddie-cakes SOOO much he wants a clone of her. Danny also wants a girl, but he informed me this week that his feelings will NOT be hurt if we have a boy as long as we name him James or Noah. He also said it would be pretty cool if it WAS a boy because then Maddie would always be really protected. Ryan says he wants a brother and he wants to name him Jackson. He said if it is a girl, he still wants to name her Jackson. I am not even sure of a Jackson that he knows, but OK, Ryan. I think Alli wants it to be a boy, because she loves sharing the “girl bond” with Maddie. I imagine Nick & Jake don’t care either way, but they were both SUPER cute when they learned the news. They are (almost) 17 and 15. HOW did that happen!? Doug and I really don’t care either way. I just think it is another blessing from God and the fact that I am due 2 weeks after the one year anniversary of losing my best friend is her way of sending her love to all of us. In any case, it will be a welcomed distraction.

All of the kids are doing really well. The boys are SO busy with school, basketball, lacrosse and soon to be baseball that any spare time they have seems to be spent with friends or wrestling with each other/driving us bloody mad. (I might forget to mention that we have amazing Brits living with us at the moment, but you may pick up on it as I have changed the way I speak and live my life as a result of their rubbing off on me). They are doing extremely well with counseling… making a lot of progress. They both have their days. They both have their moments. But overall, they are doing really well. Better than any of us ever expected. Connor is already planning his MAY birthday party, and Danny makes me laugh constantly. He also makes me really dizzy with all of the cart wheeling and flipping he does around the house. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Last night I got on them BIG time because they were completely taking advantage of Uncle Doug being out of town and causing a riot at 10:45. They told me they have never seen me act more like mommy. I told them I take that as a compliment 😉

The littles are also doing great. I can’t imagine them growing up any other way than being toted to ball games, running out on the court during time outs, and being a part of my great big amazing family. They go to Peter Panda School 3 days a week, and absolutely love it! I can’t wait until the weather gets nicer so they can experience an Indiana Spring, and a Summer living at mom mom and pop pops pool, the Children’s Museum, Holliday Park & beyond. We all have a lot to look forward to and for that, I am thankful 🙂

Doug proves to me on a daily basis that he was born to be the man he is to me, my family, and our family. He is a one of a kind, hard to STAY mad at, sweet, caring, unconditionally loving person with intentions only to better our lives. I am one blessed woman to be married to such a driven & kind hearted person. I am excited for him to start a new job on Monday, and couldn’t be more proud of him. I know it was a tough decision, but I feel that he is also being guided by Shannon, too 🙂 I am so lucky to have him in my life.

I know the post is long, but I wanted to share one more thing. Today at counseling my counselor told me she wanted me to paint 3 pictures. 1 picture of what my life was like before Shannon died, during, and after. You can see my “paintings” below. We are going to talk about them next time, but I told her I would journal or blog to get my thoughts mapped out. Before Shannon died, I considered myself to be one of the luckiest, most blessed people in the world. A lot of that could be attributed to the fact that I had her in my life. She was my morning, noon and night texting partner. The first person I called if I needed to vent. The person I laughed with the hardest, joked around with the most, and learned the greatest lessons from. During….. that week specifically… I felt hopeless. I felt lost, like a part of me was missing. I didn’t think I would ever live wholly again. I didn’t think  that I would be able to get out of bed or put one foot in front of the other or raise my kids or be ME, any day for the rest of my life. I was wrong. I was really wrong. After…. and today…. I feel so full of hope. My heart will always be broken. But it is so full of love all at the same time. I know that everything happens for a reason and though I may not ever learn why this happened, I have learned to fully accept it and make the best of the life that is a result of her passing. I have never been able to look at the bright side as easily. I have never been able to SEE the good as clearly, and recognize the bad. I know that she is not physically here with me, but I can feel her spirit each and every day. It is now and how I will always explain how I am doing as well as I am doing.

1I also wanted to make a shout out to all of you who continue to pray for us, feed us, spoil us and think about us. We couldn’t do it without you all. We love you so much!

Things that matter. Things that don’t.

Every single year at this particular time of year I find myself running around with curse words flying out of my mouth, my legs about to collapse, and my head about to explode. This year, those feelings have been multiplied by 73 million! The last week of my busiest work week, Doug was sick, THEN he left to go out of town. Not to mention the difference between having 2 to 4 kids is, while SUPER fun, exhausting. Connor and Danny are busier than I am. Getting them to take a shower is harder than convincing someone who has never been to London that London is SUPERB. No. I have never been to London. But I know it is amazing and I WILL MAKE IT ONE DAY! And between them, they have USUALLY 3-6 games per weekend. That is just the beginning.

Ryan is cute. But he is needy and wants attention 24/7. He always has something he wants to “talk about” or “show you” and he cannot yet play alone |for long|. He truly is the most hilarious little boy on EARTH! And Maddie is the smallest diva in existence. She is determined to make my sleeps shorter, my days longer/harder, and my efforts to keep her alive nearly impossible!

On top of all of this. HOLY orders. And I’m not even talking about Mama Said Tees. Colleen B. has been doing all the labor there and I know she is as busy as me and the rest of us. Probably busier. Because she is my SUPERWOMAN! But for whatever reason, my print orders and emails and convos have been off the charts. So appreciated and needed, but I have not had a spare second to do anything that needs doing during the season because there haven’t been enough hours in the day. Needless to say, I have not yet shopped for Christmas. We leave Monday for Destin (THANK YOU, friend). We are DRIVING with the 4 above mentioned children and my amazing parents. But…. for some reason… and maybe it’s because I got my final print in the mail today… I feel like taking a moment to remember what matters. We all do! Because we are ALL busy. No matter if we have no kids, 10 kids, a furry animal, a tasking job, or a demanding hobby. We are all very busy. And if we put our hearts into the things we do… well then we are busier than busy! So… sometimes…  it can’t hurt to remember what TRULY matters.

I love the Rascal Flatts Song “Things that matter” – To me, things that matter are: Making my parents proud. Loving my kids, my family my friends. EVERYONE, really! Being kind to others. Being with my mom. Making someone elses day a little better. Complimenting my husband because, well, he deserves to be complimented. Choosing happiness. Bringing my own susnshine no matter the weather. Going with what is right versus what is easy. Being a good friend. God knows I have leaned on my friends more than ever the past few months. I am leaning on them now, as I type, both new and old, and don’t know what I’d do without them. And making TIME for those who matter to us. ❤ Things that DON’T matter are: That I haven’t REALLY started Christmas shopping. That I don’t even have my stockings hung. That I re-washed the clothes in the washer just so I wouldn’t have to put them in the dryer thus having to fold them and then put them away. UGH. That my body aches, my eyes are tired, and that I wish I was like, 4 pounds lighter. Who am I kidding. 10 pounds. What MATTERS is that chicken fingers and french fries just taste way too good.
THINGS THAT MATTER.THINGS THAT DON’T.

Everyone says that they are in awe of what Doug and I are doing, but the truth is, you would do it, too. I pray that you don’t have to, EVER, but I look at it as a privilege to get to know my nephews in a capacity I never would have before. When one of Connor’s friends moms tells me that her daughter came home and said that Connor told her that his baby sister was coming to his Christmas program — that matters. THINGS THAT MATTER: the memories I have with Shannon. The lessons she taught me. Raising her boys to be good, kind gentlemen. THINGS THAT DON’T matter: that they don’t like showering (I am just praying that changes!) That they are really really bad at putting their dishes in the sink, putting away their video games, and being tidy in general. That Maddie hates sleep as much as I LOVE it and that Ryan’s favorite word as of late is “NOPE”.

Let’s all take a step back and have a grateful heart for the things we DO have, and not be bitter about the things we don’t! And let’s all just remember what matters most, always, is LOVE.

xxx Colleen – OH AND HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!!!!

1

DOWNLOAD HERE Matter

Just a little update :)

For starters, I want to thank everyone for their continued support since July 27th. I just don’t know what we would do without it. There are times during each day where I am perfectly fine and then all of the sudden I will remember that my sister is gone. How can this be? Surely it isn’t true. I still don’t believe it. It has been hard for me to express how I am feeling on a minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week basis. But what comes to mind is the word “WAVE”. So I did some googling, and I found this, from Tuesdays With Morrie. I loved this book and although I don’t remember reading this excerpt specifically, I will reflect upon it often going forward:

“I heard a nice little story the other day,” Morrie says. He closes his eyes for a moment and I wait.

“Okay. The story is about a little wave, bobbing along in the ocean, having a grand old time. He’s enjoying the wind and the fresh air — until he notices the other waves in front of him, crashing against the shore. “

“‘My God, this is terrible,’ the wave says ‘Look what’s going to happen to me!’”

“Then along comes another wave. It sees the first wave, looking grim, and it says to him, ‘Why do you look so sad?’ “

“The first wave says, ‘You don’t understand! We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?’ “

“The second wave says, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re not a wave, you’re part of the ocean.’ “

I smile. Morrie closes his eyes again.

“Part of the ocean,” he says. “Part of the ocean.” I watch him breathe, in and out, in and out.

❤ One of my dearest friends and former neighbor from St. Louis lost her husband very suddenly and very tragically nearly 4 years ago, and she said it best to me the other day.    | Time goes on, but you never stop hurting. There is a hole in your heart, and it will always be there. It will never get smaller. But you learn to live around it. BIG love grows around it, never filling it, but making life worth living. | Bingo. I think I relate to feeling like a “wave” because my feelings and emotions are so unpredictable. Sometimes I can’t even feel myself beginning to crash. But I am always able to pick myself up after a good cry, a single tear, or a laugh from a memory shared, because I remember that although this terrible thing happened, I am still a part of something wonderful going forward. I am a part of the ocean; my new world. It is not the world I imagined. It is not the world I hoped for. But it IS what it IS and I have simply chosen to do what I said I would do: HONOR SHANNON by learning from her. Remembering the good. Thinking of happy times. I can hear her laugh, her voice and I can see her face. She is gone but not forgotten, and I will make it my life’s mission to keep her memory alive for Connor and Danny… FOREVER.

My little family closed on our house in STL last week, packed (with the help of some of the most amazing people in the world… you know who you are), and are now just waiting to get possession of our new house here in INDY. I will miss my friends and my neighbors, and of course Doug’s family, but I know that we are doing the right thing. Haven’t doubted it once for a single second. And luckily, I married the most wonderful man in the UNIVERSE, so there’s that, too! 😉

So many good things have happened lately. Some of which I think people would like kept private, but I don’t think I’ll be able to not share all of the amazing things that have happened SOON! But it is all just so wonderful. I have so much thanks in my heart. We also made some new life long friends from England, and the timing for our new friendships couldn’t have been better.

Connor & Danny have expressed their questions/concerns/excitement for the big move to their counselors who have shared it with me and the cutest thing I took away from it all is that BOTH boys are just excited to have their friends spend the night. Of all the things they could be worried about with this brand new life before them, and they just want “NORMAL.” So you better believe we will be hosting a few of those overnights coming up real soon! They are doing really, really well. I have been gone for a few weeks, but mom, Chrissy and Janet have been able to fill me in on happenings and overall, they are doing fabulous. They really are the 2 strongest little boys in the world!

I worked a lot tonight and before I sign off wanted to share some prints I made for their new AMAZING room. MY WISH is something I will share with them going forward. The print about BEING KIND is something someone posted on Facebook the other day. And then the one about the 3 things… that was on Shannon’s Pinterest Board. I think we’ve got a good start to some important conversations to be had over time regarding how much Doug and I love them. In the meantime, wish us luck with this transition and as soon as we are settled, ANYONE is welcome to stop by!!!

xxx
Colleen1

Welcome :)

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! My name is Colleen & I am dedicating this space to my beautiful sister and best friend, Shannon. I stalked her Pinterest boards for inspiration as to what to name my new blog since much of what I write will be in her honor. I saw a quote on one of her boards that read: “The Best Job I’ve Ever Had – Being a Mom”. Ba Bam! (Shannon is smiling) HOW. PERFECT? How HER! How… me!? We three girls were raised by the single most wonderful woman in the world, our mother, and now that I am a mother myself, I know it is the BEST job I’ve ever had and will ever have. ESPECIALLY now.

As many of you already know, my amazing (I really cannot begin to explain how TRULY WONDERFUL he is) husband Doug and I plan to welcome Shannon’s boys, Connor & Danny into our (new!) home and family with wide open arms. They will become big brothers to our children, Ryan (3) and Maddie (1) and we are ALL pretty psyched! I have always loved them like my own. And now… well I just cannot imagine it any other way.

Shannon always teased that I was the “golden child”; that everything has always been easy for me. I remember her telling me a story after she came to visit when Maddie was born. She was laughing telling me about how someone asked how the delivery was. She replied (give or take): “Well but of course it was PERFECT! Her water broke. She took a shower. She did her hair, put on some makeup, jolly skipped to the hospital and out popped her perfect angel DAUGHTER! Then I believe she had diet coke and wine on demand.” We laughed and laughed and laughed. And now, as recent events have unfolded just to my liking, I have to believe that she is laughing up in Heaven while she helps things along.

*Dream House in INDY!!! (CHECK)

*Doug KEEPS his job in St. Louis and gets to work from home in Indy (CHECK)

*We sell our house in St. Louis before it even goes on the market for over asking price – say what?! (CHECK)

*IPHONE 6 (no CHECK. But Doug, see how I praised you? Don’t you think I’m deserving? Me too. I agree 100%)

I am chuckling right now because these are the kinds of things she would tease me for. I told my mom the other day that I am skeptical that all these rainbows are Shannon. Chrissy and I agree that we never ONCE heard Shannon comment on any sort of rainbow being glorious or spiritual or magical, and so it’s hard for me to believe that every time one pops up in the sky, it’s her. Don’t get me wrong. The one at the 5k, the one the week of her birthday, and the one today, while Connor was playing his last game of the season… TOTALLY her. But I just have a hard time with every single one being her! Though… it is comforting and I can hope and pray. My mom semi agreed, but reminded me that Shannon has made all of these things happen for us in an unusually timely manner so we can get to Indy and raise her boys. And ONCE AGAIN… mom is right. She really is looking out for baby sis!

photo copy<—- We close on Halloween and move in on Nov 7! Come visit us! 12349 Pebblepointe Pass – Carmel, IN 46033 🙂

On my journey to healing I have learned that the best way to honor somebody that you LOVE is to learn from them. Though our time was cut MUCH too short, I learned my life’s most valuable lessons from my sister. I watched her and idolized her for 30 years, and I will continue to learn from her as I pray to her in search of answers I wish she were here to tell me. I feel so blessed to be given this opportunity and hope you enjoy following us on this new journey. I miss her so much my heart aches as I type this…. but I also know that it is because she is still loving me that I can get through.

We are ALL so grateful to each and every one of you for the love and support you have shown us, and as a THANK YOU I wanted to make sure to keep you posted on our lives now and going forward. I am way behind on ACTUAL thank you’s! So please know that I am the most grateful and couldn’t do any of this without all of you! Wish us luck! I have a LOT to learn, but with Shannon in my corner, I just know everything is going to be ok. Oh and it doesn’t hurt that mom, dad, janet and family, the Greenes & the Utzingers are all within 1 mile of us 🙂 🙂 🙂 THANKS IN ADVANCE, guys!!


xxx Colleen & family