Tuesday, October 8, 2013

I have discovered Downton Abbey and my life will never be the same

Can you relate? Does this music cause your heart to speed up too?

I am completely enamored by the story and its characters. The other night when the end of the episode found Mr. Bates in a desperate situation, I almost mentioned him in my prayers. I didn't think I'd ever say it, but Dr. Quinn has met her match. Thanks to Mom for introducing me, to Karlene for lending us the seasons (hopefully we had them back before you even knew about it :), and Danilo for watching it with me (was that supposed to be a secret? I love you. :)

There Is Life After Thrush

I am generally fairly private about matters like these, but if anyone is desperately searching for help like I was and happens upon this post and it helps, I will be so happy to have been able to help.

Long story short, nursing has been EXTRAORDINARILY painful with baby Danny, which surprised me, because it completely went off without a hitch with Grace. I have discovered nursing is NOT like riding a bike. You CAN forget how to do it properly. One thing led to another and I developed a horrendous case of thrush.

Someone said that most women would voluntarily choose labor again over thrush.... If that labor comes with an epidural, mark me as a definitely.

During this time, the internet became my best and worst friend. I sorted through dozens of suggestions from women and doctors on how to cure thrush. Many of the suggestions left me with more questions. But nothing was so straight-forward, direct, and helpful as the link below.

If you find yourself with a case of thrush, read these instructions and follow them to a T. In three day's time, you will come to know why I am leaning towards naming my next son Jack (make sure to read the handout on gentian violet). 

That's all I'm going to say except to thank my dear friend Margo for her help, and to leave you with this picture of my sweet boy on our road to recovery. Questions... please please please email me at brittneycollado@gmail.com.

purple mouth from gentian violet

$140 Richer

I don't like clutter.

I am sentimental.

My upstairs is clean, but my basement is overloaded with stuff. A quick jog downstairs to grab a jar of spaghetti sauce will cause anxiety to pulse through my insides. It bothers me and sometimes keeps me up at night, because someday we will finish the basement and the stuff must be dealt with.

So I made myself start and complete a project that I think was very helpful to me. One of the largest piles of stuff downstairs consisted of an ever-growing pile of Gracie's clothes, from the time she was newborn up til last winter. Every time I clean out her drawers, I just drop a new garbage bag full of outgrown clothes on the pile. I clenched my stomach every time I considered doing something other than keeping them.

But I knew the local children's consignment sale was going to be setting up at the fairgrounds this fall. I determined I was going to use the opportunity to get some clutter out of my basement (ouch, it hurts to call it clutter) and make some money. I knew that they only accept clothes that are fairly current and trendy, and that if Gracie's baby clothes were going to make the cut, I'd better act fast.  

I started by sorting through the clothes and keeping my VERY favorites.

I found I could think more objectively when I sorted through the clothes during the day. I was WAY too sentimental at night, especially after Grace had gone to bed. I wanted to keep everything. 

Thought process: "....oh! The purple outfit! Remember that cute picture of her in the purple outfit!" Yes. And because I took a picture of her in the purple outfit, I will remember it.

"Remember the cute picture we got of her in this outfit?!" Yes. Again. You have the picture to remember. And that outfit's STILL cute! I would STILL buy it! So let's let someone else grab it for a good deal.

There was NO WAY this one was going. This one's never going.
My tags printed off and ready to attach to the clothes. It's a pretty cool system.

Organized by size in the living room
Packed and ready to drop off at the sale... sniff

It took me about two weeks to get all the clothes ready, and yes, the majority of the work took place the day before the clothes were due... but it's done!

I sold 58 outfits total and made $140. For stuff (really special stuff :) that was just sitting downstairs. I have about 50 outfits tagged and ready for the spring sale too.

If you're interested in doing the same with your clothes, stop and visit here. I participated in the Just Between Friends event. I know the same thing or something similar takes place all over the U.S. If you have any questions about my experience, email me at brittneycollado@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sometimes you just need a break from the norm...

so you ride a pony
get a kiss from a goat
chase some bubbles

chill on a pumpkin
make friends with a clown

and have funnel cake for dinner.
That did it. Thanks to the State Fair for making it possible. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Danny's Blessing Day

It was the kind of day you want to wrap up and tuck away in a special drawer so you can pull it out to enjoy again later. Danilo gave the blessing in Spanish. Danny's grandma (Nona) had his outfit specially made by a close friend. I was able to share with the congregation the reason why we named him as we did. My Grandpa Achter expressed how meaningful it was to him that I had spoken about his father (Herman Erich). We hosted a major event in our backyard for the first time with family after church. I am so thankful to our families and our ward family who extended their love and congratulations to us on this special day.

Note to self: get a picture of all four members of the Collado family together next time. :)

Friday, July 12, 2013


"I can throw this away for you if you like," said the Walgreen's pharmacy tech. He was holding my empty bottle of Motrin in his hand. I'd taken one a day from that bottle since Danny was born. He was done using the label on the old bottle to fill my new prescription.

Little did he know the battle that was waging inside of me.

"Yes, that'll be great," I said, confidently. I had won again. I tried not to look too triumphant as I heard the bottle clunk in the trash underneath the counter.

When my babies are born, I have a borderline obsession with objects that were part of those first few days and weeks of life with them. Not just the first outfit they wore home from the hospital, but the plastic from their first package of diapers, or the mug they send home with me from my hospital stay. I don't know what my reasoning is. Something along the lines of being able to preserve their tenderness and innocence through clutter. I know I struggled with this when Grace was born and that if left unchecked it could hinder my progress in getting to and keeping a healthy state of mind as a new mom, so when we got home from the hospital this time, I took a garbage sack through the house at least once daily and threw away stuff. If it hurt to throw something away, I tried to step out of my emotions and look at it objectively. How happy are you going to be in three years that you saved the styrofoam cup you chewed ice chips from as you waited for labor to progress? If I couldn't provide a rational answer, it went in the garbage. I will admit, I hung on to the disposable cover to Danny's bilirubin bed for three days before it went in the trash. He'd punched out that cute hole with his arm! Some things must be allowed a little more time. :)

This is one facet of my personal experience with postpartum depression. I wondered to what extent I would experience it after Danny was born. I am thankful that it has been fairly mild this go round. It's interesting though, this experience at Walgreen's happened 45 minutes ago. I have step back and laugh a little that I really do have to think that hard about throwing away an empty prescription bottle. The fact that it's a decision at all tells me it's still lingering a little, but the way I win a little "battle" each day makes me so thankful that I am doing so well.

Here are some other facets to my whole postpartum experience.

I love my hospital experience. I am especially emotional after giving birth, and it makes me especially appreciative of the care that is shown to me by the nurses. It actually makes it really hard for me to go home. Not that I don't think I will be taken care of at home, but I become attached to my nurses. This time one of the nurses slid an envelope into the paperwork I was bringing home the evening we checked out. When I got home I opened it to find a card signed by all the nurses that had cared for me. It made me cry. Now it makes me smile. It did not go in the garbage.

For several days after giving birth, I have a heightened sense of how fragile mortality is. Danilo turned on Tarzan one night at home shortly after Grace was born, and I didn't tell him, but I got so upset inside and couldn't enjoy the rest movie when Tarzan's parents were killed by the cheetah in the beginning. I can (kind of) laugh at it now (having just experienced becoming a mother again), but I was truly, truly angry. 

The hardest part of the postpartum experience for me is an intense fear or anxiety that settles in and nearly paralyzes me. Fear of all kinds of things. Parent-killing cheetahs, Danilo making it safely home from work, and mostly over the responsibility of being a parent. Will I be able to do this as well as my parents did? I feel so broken and inadequate. This little person depends on me for everything. Will I be able to rise to the task and give them everything they need? I was comfortable with life before the baby and now I feel like my whole world has been thrown up in the air and come down scrambled. Will I ever experience normalcy again?

The night we brought Danny home from the hospital, he cried all night long. I wanted Danilo to sleep so we could have at least one alert parent the next day, so I made a bed on the floor in his room and tried to calm him from sun down to sun up. As I lay there, I had a wave of anxiety rush over me all night long. It was kind of uncomfortable and scary, but I just kind of let it do its thing.

Because this time I can say, hey, I have a three-year-old now and I felt this way when she was born too, but now she is mine and her daddy's whole world. It took several nights to figure out and adjust to life with her, but now it's impossible to imagine life without her.

Something else that has helped make my postpartum experience easier this time round is having Grace here with me. At a time when my emotions could cause me to take life and myself and this whole experience too seriously, Gracie provides comic relief. She laughs when he burps. She laughs when he spits up. She laughs when he goes cross-eyed. She laughs when he chooses to relieve himself when his diaper is off. It's a truly amused laugh. And it makes me laugh too. And while I laugh, I'm thankful that I'm not all by myself taking life too seriously.

Lastly, I taught a lesson a couple of months ago to the young women at church on the topic of grace. It changed my life. I have come to understand that after all we can do, God will bless us with a strengthening power (grace) that will make the seemingly difficult or impossible possible. So when postpartum panic starts to set in, I just remember my testimony of His grace and move forward. Sometimes the manifestations of His grace have been through my own daughter Grace, sometimes a text message from a friend, a priesthood blessing, or a clearer understanding of what I'm going through. These verses were part of my scripture study this morning and I loved them:

This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope.
It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Lamentations 3:21-24

Surely I am not the only one who has become attached to an empty package of newborn sized Pampers. If you have fun postpartum experiences too, I would love to hear about them. :)  

feeling good

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Annabelle Hydrangeas

When I started growing plants and trees and flowers in my yard, a little piece of me regretted it. I know it's somewhat of a trial and error process and I did not want to get attached to anything living and growing in my yard only to see it wilt and die. 

These pictures are not from Pinterest. Or a Google image search. They are from my camera because these lovelies ARE GROWING IN OUR YARD!! Apparently they are indestructible because after what happened to them last year plus a brutal winter, I didn't dare hope that I would ever see them bloom. But they did. They make my heart sing. And sometimes I ask Danilo to drive around the block so we can approach our house from the opposite side and I can see what they look like to passers by.

P.S. If you have ever considered growing hydrangeas, apparently this is the variety to go with. Unlike other types, they do well in Utah, they can handle extreme heat, extreme cold, and recover from neglect. I am so happy that trial and error worked in my favor this time. :)


 I grabbed a picture of all the pricks on the bottom of baby Danny's feet before they healed. We went to the doctor four times in his first ten days of life to check the bilirubin levels in his blood. Like many babies, he developed jaundice by day two. They treated him with photo therapy for several hours before we left the hospital, but his levels were fairly high and so a medical supply vehicle met us here the night we brought Danny home and had a bilirubin bed waiting for us. We kept him on it as much as we possibly could, which was not always fun. We took him off for feedings and diaper changes and a couple of visitors, but otherwise he lived the first several days of his life in our home in this bed.

Danilo and I saw Man of Steel together a couple nights before Danny was born. This bed made me feel like we were in some super hero movie...our son is just laying here soaking up super power strength. :)

You tuck your baby in almost as if they were in a sleeping bag. Thankfully the cover is disposable, because on about day 6 our son punched out a hole for his arm. I told you, super human strength. :)
Gracie made sure to write about this experience in her brother's life :)
She is also happy to report that we sent the billirubin bed back a week ago and brother is doing very well  

Friday, July 5, 2013

My Son is Born!

We were originally given a due date of July 3rd for our baby boy. When I started visiting the doctor's office weekly during the last month, it was pretty clear with each visit that the baby was on his way. He scheduled an induction date for June 27th. I had things planned out nicely for how that day would go. Cynthia and her kids came in to town and I was glad they could help time pass and Grace was thrilled to have her cousins here. Grace had swimming lessons that would wrap up the week before. I would get a couple last things put together for the baby's room and get a pedicure. The Saturday before, Danilo's mom had a baby shower planned for us that she had put all kinds of time and effort into. After that shower, Danilo and I had tickets to an event in Sandy and we were going to make a date night out of it by going to dinner, too. Well, that Friday evening (before the baby shower), I started having fairly strong, fairly consistent contractions. Danilo and I were watching a movie. I didn't really know how to read contractions because my water had broken with Grace. I just didn't know how to know if I should go to the hospital. So Danilo and I prayed together, that we would be alert to know if we needed to get to the hospital. I decided to try to sleep, and if I was able to sleep, we would stay home. I slept really well through the night and the contractions subsided. The next morning I was getting some things done around the house and my contractions kicked up again, strong and consistent. Danilo told me to maybe go lie down. He liked the thought of a planned delivery on the following Thursday and I was really starting to make him nervous. I rested til it was time to go to the baby shower. Danilo and I mapped out a plan for in case I went into labor at the event in Sandy... we could make it to Intermountain Medical Center if I couldn't make it back. Talking like that, I started to think it might be a good idea to call off the date night. I decided to bring my hospital bag to the shower... just in case. As we sat there and guests started to trickle in, I joked with them that I thought I might be going in to labor. Mom sat next to me and we started to time them. They were consistently close together and started to hurt ever so slightly more. I started to wonder what I was waiting for. The shower was LOVELY, and if I had a sore throat or a headache, I would have just suffered through. But this was labor. I called Danilo who was in the house with his mom helping her and told him we needed to go. He rose to the task even though our nice Thursday delivery plan was falling apart.

decorations from the shower brought up to my hospital room; yes that is a baby face carved in cantaloupe! :)
 My mom and Hailey and a couple others snapped some pictures of Danilo and me running off from the shower to the hospital. I hugged and kissed my Gracie girl and told her we were pretty sure Dad and I were going to the hospital so I could have her baby brother and that she would be there after he came. We headed to the Emergency Room just like we had with Grace. We sat at a desk for 10 or 15 minutes to get checked in. They gave me a wristband and everything and then Danilo wheeled me off in a wheelchair. A nurse met me and gave me instructions to change into a gown and get in a bed where I would be hooked up to monitors and all. When you're causing all that fuss, you can't help but think, man, I'm really going to feel ridiculous if I didn't make the right call here.

last picture as a family of three!
But within 15 or 20 minutes, the nurse said they had talked to the doctor and he had told them to keep me. We were having a baby! When the nurse left the room after giving us that information, I asked Danilo to give me a blessing. He did and I don't remember all the words, but I gained calm and strength from it which I was very grateful for. Gracie's deliver was a pretty horrendous experience (she was worth it), and if this delivery registered even close to the pain and fear I felt during Gracie's delivery, our family was going to consist of two children. I was very thankful for the power of the priesthood and that blessing. I think one of the tender mercies that came from it was that the nurse who originally met me went home when her shift ended, and the nurse who saw me through the rest of labor and delivery {Natalie} was so wonderful. So with it. I really feel like when I told her what my worries and fears were, she internalized it all and did everything she could to reduce my anxiety and solve problems. The issue with Gracie's delivery was that my epidural wore off and it was too late by that time to do anything about it. So all the pain of labor and delivery came rushing in and I was not prepared mentally to deal with it. This time, I was given a might dose just as the doctor arrived to make no mistake that the epidural would work through the delivery. It did and giving birth was one of the sweetest experiences of my life as it was with Grace, but minus the trauma. I pushed four or five times and he was here! My initial reaction when I saw him was that he was definitely Grace's brother. There was a very strong resemblance between the two. Because my pain was under control, I was able to enjoy the next several minutes, Danilo cutting the umbilical cord, and the nurses and Danilo estimating his weight. He was 8 lbs. 5 oz. and 22 1/2 inches long. I was much more present with this delivery. I could enjoy the moment and not just cope with the pain. He arrived at 8:15 p.m. Dr. Bitner congratulated me with a hug. They gave him to me once they had cleaned him up and when I got to have him up close, I could see that while he looked like Grace, he was definitely his own person with his own features, his face shape was different, he has dimples. We called our parents to let them know he was here. I was anxious for Grace to meet her little brother. My family said she was getting emotional in the hall waiting to come in and meet him. Not a sad emotional, but an excited emotional. We'd been talking about this moment as a family for months, and it had finally arrived.

I love the pictures that were taken of the four of us in those few minutes after his birth. All our sisters and their husbands came as well as Andrew too. Everyone stayed probably til 10:00. Then they invited me to come to the nursery while Danilo bathed our son. I didn't know moms could do that. My legs didn't work from the epidural so a sweet nurse named Aimee pushed me around in a wheelchair. Grace and Nona watched outside the window. I think Grace didn't get to bed til midnight that night, but I am happy she was there. Danilo stayed that first night in my hospital room on a a hide-a-bed. I'm glad he was there. I had a really wonderful hospital stay. The nurses were so kind and attentive.

We had lots of family in and out the two days we were there including both sets of my grandparents. It was really nice. So... after months and months of debate, what did we name our sweet boy? Danilo Erich Collado. Danilo for obvious reasons. I think we will probably call him Danny most of the time to help with any confusing between father and son. Erich is the middle name of my Grandpa Achter's father.

He is the kind of person who gave most everything he had to be baptized a member of the Church. I have always admired him for his courage and faithfulness and it feels important to honor him this way. So... how do I explain how I feel about this little boy? He has completely won my heart. I have nervously anticipated becoming the mother of a son, feeling like I know quite a bit about raising girls and nothing about boys. But I am entirely smitten. I am so thankful for the powerfully sweet spirit he has brought with him and into our home and feel like Heaven is very near. I know the experience has been similarly meaningful for Danilo as well and Gracie loves and is so proud of her brother. I am so thankful for powerful, sweet, life-changing experiences like this. I pray for the strength and grace each day to be a good mom to my children and raise them in a way that is pleasing to my Heavenly Father.