December 31, 2010

Happy Birthday Daddy

Dear Carter,
It was Daddy's birthday on the 21st. He almost didn't make it home in time for it because of the weather. Jovie and I made him peanut butter bars since he's not so much a fan of cake, and a lot of the family came over to wish him a great day. Happy Birthday sweetie! Here's to hoping your 34th year is much better than your 33rd!

December 30, 2010

Christmas Day

Dear Carter,
See, I'm almost caught up now. Your brother and sister were so excited for Christmas morning, and they got SO spoiled. I guess that Santa figured that they deserved a little spoiling after the year they had. There's Ajax again. Always sneaking his way in!
Momma and Dadda got spoiled too, but all we really wanted was you. We spent the day at home, and your grandparents all came over throughout the day. Mikey and Jovie had fun playing with all of their new toys.
We love you so much little sweetie! I'm sure that your Christmas celebration was unbelievable....I can't even comprehend. We miss you so much, and can't wait until the holiday when we can be with you again. Merry Christmas baby boy.

Christmas Eve

Dear Carter,

Christmas Eve was most definitely the hardest part of this holiday for me. I'm so happy that you get to be with Jesus on his birthday, and can't even imagine what it must be like to be in Heaven for such a celebration, BUT I'm still selfish and want you here with us. We got all ready for Christmas Eve mass, and headed out to visit your grave on the way there. You had a lot of little decorations up there. I don't even know where some of them came from. It makes me so happy to know that people hadn't forgotten about you. The mass was simply stunning, and Mikey and Jovie were perfect angels through the whole thing. I love our church....especially at Christmas time. Being there is emotional when I think about your funeral, but on the other hand it makes me feel closer to you.

Afterward, we went over to the Miller's for our family Christmas party where Mikey and Jovie got spoiled!
We got home pretty late, but didn't forget to put out the cookies for Santa. Ajax was excited for Santa Paws to come, and had to weasel his way into the kids' picture (and several on Christmas Day too....what is with this dog?!).

Santa Claus

Dear Carter,
We decided to attend the children's Christmas party at church this year. It was a little hard to see all of the young babies made us miss you even more. They started off with a children's play of the nativity. Mikey and Jovie were both asked to participate as ponies, but only Jovie dared to do it. That's our girl! She did look quite nervous though. She had a little pony tail pinned to her skirt which you can see in the next picture below. Sooo cute!
Afterward, Papa Mouse read them Twas' The Night Before Christmas, and then the big man Santa made his appearance. Your brother and sister both sat on his lap and got some treats. It was a pretty exciting time. Jovie keeps asking me tons of questions about Santa, but the only question Mikey had for me was wondering if he would leave something for your grave in your stocking. What a sweet boy...always looking out for his brother and sister.

December 29, 2010

Christmas Cookies

Dear Carter,
Merry Christmas my sweet boy. I'm behind once again in my blogging, so it will take me a couple of posts to get caught up again. Before Christmas, Grandma invited us over to see the little tree she made just for you. This isn't the greatest picture, but it's the only one I have on the computer right now. It was adorable, with all of the little butterflies on it. While we were there, your brother and sister decorated Christmas cookies. Mikey was finished after a couple, but Jovie decorated the ENTIRE plate. She's such a funny girl!

They had a really fun time. Thank you Grandma for this fun activity!

December 20, 2010


Dear Carter,
I'm a little behind on my blogging, so here it goes! This was our first Thanksgiving without you, so we changed things up a bit. We're trying very hard to create new memories. This year one of the new traditions was a pie making day with Great Grandma. We went over to The Miller's house so she could teach us how to make pie crust. We are usually the type of family to eat store bought pie, but not this year!
While we were busy with the baking, the kids each painted a train for your tree.

They turned out quite marvelous.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and we went back over the The Miller's house for a feast. We had three types of Turkey, and a ham. After dinner, the kids played on the little snowmobile. As you can see, they thought that was a blast!

Even Mommy and Daddy tried out the snowmobile, but we both fell off. HA! A couple of times!
Overall, it was a nice Thanksgiving, but the whole time we definitely felt that hole in our hearts. We missed you very much, but are so thankful that we had at least one Thanksgiving with you.

December 15, 2010

Second Christmas

Dear Carter,
I've been neglectful of your blog again. I'm trying, I'm really trying, but quite honestly I still don't have much of that fire in me to write. I was doing pretty well until your tree was finished, and then the sadness of not having you here with me crept up on me again. I expected it, after all, there would most certainly be something wrong with me if I wasn't sad about not having you here for your second Christmas.

When I look back on the years of my Christmas past (yes, I probably stole that line from a movie lol), it's so easy to pick out which one is my absolute favorite. Nothing will ever compare to last year because I had all three of my kids together and's very hard to swallow that it will be the only Christmas with all of my kids together like that. You had on the cutest little pjs that read "I believe in Santa". I still look at them from time to time because they are by far one of my favorite outfits of yours.

I'm trying to get into the Christmas spirit, especially for your brother and sister. I'm hoping that once they are on their break (starting on Friday afternoon), I will start to feel a little better. Until then, I go through the motions of filling out the Christmas cards and wrapping the gifts. I love you baby boy. All I want for Christmas is you.

December 5, 2010

The Unveiling

Dear Carter,
Wow, I can't believe it's all finished. It seems like it all went by in a blur, and now I feel that itch to start on our tree for next year already! I think that it couldn't have been any more perfect, and every single piece of your tree was put together with love. The first step to putting together your tree, was unwrapping all of the ornaments that were donated. Needless to say, there were a LOT. It's neat to think that these came from all over the country.
Daddy got your train all ready to go.
Here's our crew. Team Carter rocks! We had the Daltons, The Mitchells, Aunt April, and Aunt Stacy there to help us put it all together.Perfect little set up for you, our baby boy!The finished product. Now, we waited to see if it would sell.We were thrilled to learn that Brice and Adie Mitchell purchased your tree. We are beyond blessed to know these people, and were so excited to know that our tree would be close to home....little did we know how close.
On Friday, we took a trip down to The Festival Of Trees to take a final look. Most of the local Team Carter members were there too! You had a lot of people there who love you....including Kathy, one of your biggest fans! A close up of a few more details.
Uncle Marty, Aunt Nelva, and your cousins were supporting you with their Team Carter shirts on. I'm telling you Carter, that place was bursting with love for you!This was one of my very favorite parts! There were a couple of hidden details. Check out the back of the train.

Jovie painted a train for your tree. Mikey painted one too!
The festival ended yesterday, and we were completely and utterly shocked when The Mitchell family showed up at our doorstep today with your tree. We are so grateful to have them in our lives. Our hearts filled with love to know that your tree will always be displayed in our house. We really can't thank them enough. We are blessed to say that we know them, and I honestly can't think of the right words to express our gratitude. They are AMAZING people. Thank you.

December 1, 2010

Keepin' On

Dear Carter,
Our next article for the newsletter came out the other day.

I’m really not sure how or when the concept of Team Carter really happened. It’s just a phrase that somebody had said, and it kind of stuck. We needed to find a way to show Carter that we were proud of who he was, and that we were, or rather are, on his team. The team concept brought all of our family, friends, and even people who were once complete strangers into our circle. It quickly became obvious which doctors and nurses were on Team Carter, and which ones were not. Membership is a privilege, and every member realized it. You see, you can only be a member of Team Carter if you have the proper mindset…one that believes that this little boy was capable of anything, and that he would most certainly “keep on“ through the trials set before him. It wasn’t long before we had T-Shirts and wristbands showing our allegiance, and members were proud to wear them.

After Carter grew his wings, the goal of Team Carter changed from supporting him here on Earth, to continuing to “keep on” the work in his name. After all, that seems like the least we could do. If we can continue to share Carter’s story, or raise money for charity, then Carter can “keep on” changing lives. It is the perfect way to keep Carter’s memory going, and to help us in our healing. Our journey started with a local 5K race in July. Over 40 members of Team Carter participated, and several of those were from our railroad family. Most of these people were not avid runners, and you could feel the love for Carter as people pushed themselves to “keep on” across the finish line. We knew that Carter was smiling at us on that day.

We’ve also managed to do a couple of events in which we’ve raised money for charity, and all of it in Carter’s name. Our biggest event so far is coming up in December. I had heard about The Festival Of Trees, but never really knew what it was all about. A friend mentioned that we should participate for Carter, and I immediately started looking into it. I learned that groups can decorate a tree which is auctioned off with the proceeds going to Primary Children’s Hospital. It seemed only fitting considering Carter had most of his care at that hospital. Team Carter knew that we absolutely had to do this for the little guy.

The first step in creating Carter’s tree was deciding what kind of theme we would like to follow. After some discussion, we came up with the idea of doing a train theme because Carter really was “The Little Boy Who Could”. It seemed appropriate to name the tree “Keep On Keepin’ On” since like a train, Carter’s story will always “keep on”. People began sending train ornaments, train sets, and giving us ideas to make one amazing display. As we put this together for Carter, I can’t help but feel a sense of pride for being the mommy to such an amazing child. The pride swells each time I find a new piece for the tree, or come up with a new idea. This is for him…it is about him… and it will help others. This is exactly what Team Carter is all about. We only hope that we can do enough to make him proud. Maybe, just maybe, on the day that the tree will be revealed, somewhere Carter will be smiling at us again.

November 29, 2010

Decorating Day

Dear Carter,

Well, it's finally done! It feels like I've been working on your tree forever, and now it's finally done. I don't think that it could be more perfect! Of course, I'm only going to give the tiny sneak peek above for now. Pictures just do not do it justice, and I don't want to ruin the moment for anyone who plans to see the tree in person. I promise to post tons of pictures this weekend.
It was certainly an amazing experience. There were several people there creating trees in memory of their loved ones, and to have that many people decorating these trees with so much love was an overwhelming feeling. We had a lot of our family and friends there helping, and it was so, SO much fun. Thank you to everyone who took the trip down there with us. We appreciate you!
Thank you also to everyone who contributed something to this tree. I really do think that we've made Carter proud. As we were putting the finishing touches on it including putting his picture under it, I felt that enormous sense of pride again. Carter, you were loved so very much!
For anyone who is interested in going down to the event, it is at the South Towne Expo Center. You can start attending on Wednesday, December 1st through Saturday December 4th from 10:00 to 10:00. The tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children, but they only take cash or check (there are ATMs down there). Carter's tree is in the Small Tree section, and almost directly under the Small Trees sign. It is the most adorable one there just like Carter ha!
Team Carter will be attending on Friday at about 6:00. We would love it if anybody would like to join us. We hope to see you there!

November 23, 2010

And The Winner Is.....

Thank you so much for all of your votes. This one was the clear winner! I remember the day I took this picture. He was wearing an outfit that my friend April had made for him. He fell asleep a few minutes after this picture was taken. What a cutie! I love that little cleft!

Decorating day is around the corner. If anyone would like to meet us down at the Festival Of Trees, we are going to be there on December 3rd...probably around 6:00 or so. I'll post more details when it gets a little closer.

Thank you also to everyone who has helped us with this tree. It is so neat to see all of the different ornaments, and to know that each one was picked out by someone who wants to show support for Carter. It warms our hearts, and we greatly appreciate it.

November 19, 2010

What do you think?

We need your help deciding on which picture to use for Carter's tree. We can have a 5x7 sitting next to it, and we've narrowed it down to the following options. If you could just take a moment and leave your vote by either leaving a comment on the blog, on Facebook, or sending me an email at . I can't wait to see what you all think!

Here is choice #1

Choice #2

Choice #3 and Choice #4

Thanks for your help!!

November 16, 2010

Fried Green Tomatoes

Dear Carter,

Sometimes it's funny how you can watch a movie one million times, but it only takes one time for it to stay with you forever. Does that make any sense? Let me give you an example. I've seen the movie Fried Green Tomatoes many, many, many times over my lifetime. Pretty much any time that I see it's on TV, I'll watch it. I think it's a great movie, but not for any specific reason. Well, yesterday it happened to be on TV, so I of course started watching. After a few minutes Mrs. Threadgood began telling her new friend about her son. I hadn't even remembered this part of the movie, and when it was over it left me in tears. Here is the transcript:

I didn't know you had a child.

Yes, I did. Albert. When he was born, the doctor said it would be best if I didn't see him. He said his mind wouldn't develop past the age of five, and I should put him in an institution. Because the burden of raisin' a child like that would be too great.

Well, I thought about Ruth. She always said....there was a separate god for children. So I smiled at him and I asked for the baby. Why, from the minute he was born, Albert was the joy of my life. The Lord's greatest gift. I don't believe there was a purer soul on this earth. I had him with me til' he was 30. Then he went to sleep and he didn't wake up. Sometimes I can't wait to get to Heaven to see him again.

I believe this was just like you Carter. You were the greatest gift, and there wasn't a purer soul on this Earth. Once again, I feel lucky.

November 15, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

Dear Carter,
Oh, the tree is almost complete, and decorating day is almost here! It's starting to feel very real now! I'm thrilled with the way it's coming together, and I hope that we make you proud.

The kids had their school pictures taken, and it was time to put their new ones in the frames. I decided that every time I change out their pictures, I'm going to change yours too. It's always nice to see new pictures of you...especially when I find ones that I had forgotten about. This is the new one I chose. I LOVE it!

I am missing you a lot today. I just wish that you could be laying on your blanket staring at the lights on your tree. It was your absolute favorite thing to do this time last year, and I keep remembering it. I'm sure that your whole world is filled with brightly colored Christmas trees! I love you my little sweetie.

November 13, 2010


I've been reading about everyone's 30 days of Thankfulness, and figured that I might as well join in because I too have so much to be thankful for. Of course, these aren't in any order...just writing them as they come to my mind.

1- I am thankful for God, and for the faith he has graced me with. There is no way that I could have made it through the last two years without Him by my side. I am also thankful for our church. It is an amazing community of people, and such a calming and peaceful place.

2- I am thankful for my very best friend, Michael. I couldn't ask for a better husband. I love his charming personality, and the way that he takes care of me and our family. He can make me laugh at the drop of a hat. I love you, Michael.

3- I am thankful for my 3 beautiful children. Mikey, Jovie, and Carter have each brought their own something special to our family.

4- I am thankful for our family. They have supported us and loved us through our hard times. How did we get so lucky to have such an amazing family?

5- I am thankful for friends, both near and far. I am blessed to have each and every one of you in my life.

6- I am thankful for my husband's job. Without it, we wouldn't have food in our bellies, a nice house, or a car to drive. Thank you Michael for working so hard for our family.

7- I am thankful that we live in a place that is so close to a children's hospital. I can't imagine how our time with Carter would have been if we lived hours away from a facility that could help us take care of him.

8- I am thankful for all of the pictures, videos, and this blog about Carter. Without that, I would only have my mind to keep my memories of him alive.

9- I am thankful for the opportunity to do charity work in Carter's name. It helps us to heal, and to continue his life so to speak.

10- I am thankful for my Father In Law. Even though I never met you, I have this overwhelming comfort knowing that you are with my baby boy. I'd much rather have you both here on Earth with us, but am happy to know that you are together.

11- I am thankful for Skype. I have just barely signed up for this, and got to see my Grandma and Grandpatalk to me for the first time in 18 months.

Ok, so the rest of these pale in comparison to the others, but I've gotta put it out there lol!

12- I am thankful for Bon Jovi (OK, I know this sounds silly), BUT sometimes I feel like they've written the soundtrack to my life. They have been in my life so long that it's hard to imagine it without them.

13- I am thankful for NFL football. Even if my Detroit Lions stress me out week after week. It gives me something to look forward to.

14- I am thankful for caffeine. My drug of choice.

15- I am thankful for the in the world would I function without that?

November 12, 2010

Sooooo Lucky!

Right now, this is my very favorite store in the whole entire world:

They just donated a Christmas tree for Carter!!!

I went in there a few weeks ago with a flyer that explained what we were doing for Carter. A nice man named Trent told me that he'd submit the paperwork and see what happens. Well, today, I went and picked up the tree. When I went to the front desk to let them know that I was there, an employee there wanted to know more about Carter. She asked if he was my son. She was very sweet in the questions she asked, and once again I felt my heart swell with pride.

YES! Carter is MY son, and I have no idea why he picked me, or how I got to be so lucky. He was the most amazing boy, and YES! I AM his mommy. See, now the tears are falling again, because I truly do feel that....I feel blessed that I got to be his mommy. Nobody else in the world knows what it was like to be part of something so special. Nobody else in the world knows what it was like to be Carter's mommy. Why me? I'll never know, but I do know that I am beyond thankful to him for choosing me, and to God for giving me such a precious gift.

I must admit that there are times when I feel the "why me", "why him", and "why us". I get angry that for whatever reason he was called away from us so soon, but I try....I try so hard to focus on the blessing that we were given. Today started out as a "why me" day, but after this tree was given to us, I'm now back to the "I'm so lucky" day. Because I really am.....lucky.

Movin' Along

Dear Carter,

I'm still having a hard time keeping up on this blog. I really want to get out of my writing funk because this really is the only type of journal I keep. I'm going to try my hardest to write at least every other day through the holiday season...wish me luck!

I picked up little Jovie from her preschool class yesterday, and was so thrilled when I saw this hanging on the bulletin board.
If you can't read it, it says that Jovie is thankful for Baby Carter, and there's a picture of her with you. Truer words couldn't have been written because we are all so very thankful for you. She is very excited about your Christmas tree, and even told her teacher that we were making a tree for the "fesibal of twees". What a cutie pie!

We had Mikey's parent teacher conference on Tuesday, and his teachers raved about him. He got all 3's which are like A's, and he's moving right along in the first grade. It makes me proud to see him growing up and taking pride in his work. I hope that we can keep him that way throughout school.

Tonight we are going shopping for the rest of the stuff we need to finish your tree, and then it's just a bunch of craft work to get it ready. We are still looking for more train ornaments, so if anyone is interested in helping us out, please send me an email at teamcarterjay at gmail dot com.

I'm still missing you like crazy, but doing this tree is helping me out a little. It's nice to know that we are doing something that keeps your memory alive. I hope that you can feel the love we're sending to you every minute of every single day.

November 4, 2010

We're Still Here!

Dear Carter,

I haven't updated your blog in awhile. We've had a nasty tummy bug making it's way through our house for the last two weeks which has made for a very busy Momma! Everyone seems to be on the mend now, so hopefully I can start to give attention to our journal here.
We had a pretty good Halloween. We missed you like crazy, but found ways to include you in everything we did. Check out the pumpkin we carved for you!
Mikey was a Ghostbuster, and Jovie was a Peacock. We found Ajax' costume from several years ago, so he went as Woody from Toy Story. What a cute bunch!

Mikey wasn't so much in the mood to take pictures, but Jovie was all about posing. The rain started to fall as we went out Trick Or Treating, but we continued on anyway. Mikey only made it up to Grandma's and back before calling it a night, but Jovie went through the entire neighborhood. She brought home quite the haul!

I'm still working on your tree, and it's coming together. The decorating day is fast approaching, and I can't wait to make you proud.