December 11, 2011
I have to admit it. There are some days when I simply can NOT wait to get to church, and there are others when I tend to drag my feet. There is a pattern here, and typically the dragging of the feet is because I just know that I'm going to be reminded of your funeral. On the other hand, some weeks this is welcome because it's the last place that I felt like we were really "with" you. Sometimes I don't even understand how my crazy mind works!
Our lesson in church today was about how we can be compared to a piece of iron. Some may think of God as a hammer, or an axe, or a saw....just trying to form us into what he would want. The piece of iron will withstand those tools, so instead we should see God as a tiny flame. It may take some time, but that tiny flame will GENTLY bend the iron. Isn't this just so true? Sometimes it may take more than a tiny flame to mold me to do what He wants, but hopefully He is patient with me. I also have to say that losing you didn't feel like a tiny flame to me, but God knows what he's doing.
I started to think about how God has placed certain people into my life, knowing that even if they may not help to "mold" me at that moment, maybe they possibly could later in my life. It became even more obvious to me as I was going up to get my blessing, and found that my High school counselor was the one who would be giving it to me. If you didn't know it before baby boy, I was a bit of a trouble maker in High School. I got bored, and decided that I didn't need school during my Junior year. My High School counselor did everything he could to help me to stay in school, but I was just too stubborn (and maybe a bit lazy), and instead missed most of my Junior year which I had to make up during night school in my Senior year.
So here he is, fifteen years later, and he gave me a blessing today....and I was remembering the long talks we had about how you can't give up.
You just can't give up.
And those words affected me more today than they did back then. I kept on remembering his positive attitude, and how he would tell me that he believed in me and he knew that I could do it. Not that I feel like giving up on life (no panicked phone calls please), but more like I want to give up on trying to be unselfish about wanting you here with me....about not being angry that you aren't here.
Although he certainly wasn't talking about my journey without you, it felt as though that was the case as I was reliving those conversations today. Today, he had no idea who I was as I received my blessing and walked back to my seat, but he somehow gave me a much needed pep talk.
December 7, 2011
After looking at a few other trees, we decided to try out the Kid's Corner where Mikey got put inside of a big bubble.
Jovie got a quick manicure before her performance...
and then she was all ready to go!
December 5, 2011
The next tree was your cousin Samantha's Sweeter Than Candy tree. She says that she named it that because you are Sweeter Than Candy which is so SO true!
The next tree was your Grandma Geri's Frosty The Snowman Tree. Your Great-Aunt Nancy helped her with it too. This was their first tree, so they were nervous, but as you can see they had absolutely nothing to be nervous of! It turned out adorable, and the lady who purchased it was thrilled with it.
December 1, 2011
Today starts the 25 days of Christmas. It really seems as though it has crept up on me this year which is silly since I've been decorating your tree for so long.
On Tuesday night, your Daddy, Aunt Stacy, Cousin Samantha, and I headed down to Opening Night at The Festival Of Trees. They all look so much different with the lights dimmed and the clutter cleaned up off of the floor. When we saw your trees for the first time that night, we realized that we hadn't really gotten the full effect of them until that moment. The bidding started, and there was a LOT of pacing and walking by your trees over and over again to see if they had received a bid. I can happily report that ALL of your trees sold, and every penny of those donations will be donated to Primary Children's Hospital. Despite the butterflies in our stomachs, it really was a delightful night, and I'll definitely want to go back again next year.
On Wednesday, we were blessed to have the opportunity to see Jovie dance at the Festival. She did a fabulous job, and we couldn't be prouder of her. She knew the full weight that she was dancing for you, and she practiced her little heart out. I'll definitely have to post a video of it when I get it on the computer. Afterward, we took a look at all of your trees, and let your brother and sister explore the rest of the festival. They got to have their picture taken with Santa, and do all of the fun kid activities that they missed out on last year. We really wanted them to remember this festival as a fun time, and something they will look forward to every year.
November 28, 2011
Today was decorating Day for The Festival Of Trees. It's hard to think that this tree which we've been working on all year long is finished! I almost feel like I don't know what to do with myself! To say you were well-represented would be an understatement. Your trees are beautiful....exactly like you. Each one has it's own little elements which make it ever so special. You were so loved little guy....and now everybody knows it!
November 27, 2011
I can't believe that The Festival Of Trees decorating day is finally here! We go down there tomorrow to represent you for the second time. I have a mixture of emotions about it. Mostly I'm excited and happy, but there is also that mix of wishing that I was doing this while you were here. Of course, I probably wouldn't have ever done it if you were here, but still.
They had a good time putting this together. The theme ended up being butterflies and stars...almost exactly like your Carter's Hope logo! We did a mini-photoshoot with the tree this weekend, and I promise to share the results after the Festival. Tonight as I was filling out the story cards for your trees, I decided that it would be best to get Mikey and Jovie's perspective on why they did this tree for you. The breakdown is that they love you very much. They miss you. They think that you are like a butterfly because you can spread your wings, AND they think that you get to play with stars now. Oh how I hope and pray that is true! I KNOW that it is, but I still keep on praying.
Again, I have to thank all of our wonderful friends and family for supporting us on this. It's hard to believe that you will have FOUR trees at the festival for you, AND a wreath as well. I know there is no way that we could have done this without all of the donations and help that has been offered to us. I think that you will LOVE the end result. I know that I do!
For those who are thinking of going down to the festival, it is going on from Wednesday to Saturday. You will find Carter's trees in the Small trees section. He has thre five-foot trees, and one three-foot. He also has a wreath up there. I would love, Love, LOVE it if you would share a picture of your family with his trees. Thank you again for all of your support!
November 21, 2011
Isn't it funny how one thing can lead to another, and you can watch God's plan unfold? As you know, I've been filling my days with volunteering at your brother and sister's school by working on the PTA. It's been good for me to meet new people, and open up my world a little bit. I tend to get stuck in a rut, and start to feel the bitter pain of missing you when I spend too much time alone. I try my hardest to keep busy and stay around people...it's not that I'm avoiding the pain, it's just that sometimes it seems like too much. I can't stand how much I miss you.
As I told you before, I wrote a grant which our school received. Well, in doing so, I have gotten to know the principal of our school. A couple of weeks ago, both your brother and sister forgot their backpacks, so I had to run them into the school while Daddy waited for me in the parking lot. As I was walking through the hall, the principal approached me and asked if I was looking for a job. I told him that I was eventually, but I wasn't planning to until next year because your sister is still in half-day Kindergarten. After learning a bit more about the job, your Daddy and I thought that it would probably be best for me to go ahead and apply. The hours are perfect for our family....not too many, and the same days off as your brother and sister. Well, after two weeks of back and forth I finally got offered the job! I started my first day today!
To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. My job is officially an ESL (English As A Second Language) tutor, so I have an area that is set up as a classroom where I will work with students who are struggling with English. Ironic considering I went to college to get a degree in English teaching but never finished. I am taking over for somebody who left a couple of weeks ago without any direction as to where they left off. There are piles and piles of materials to sort through to figure out how I can best help these kids. It's going to be tough at first, but once I find my own path I believe it will be AMAZING! I'm so excited for this new opportunity, and thankful to God for leading me onto this path. As I was feeling a little overwhelmed today, I kept thinking to myself that I have overcome much tougher obstacles, and I can do this too!
I hope that you know how much we love and miss you baby boy. I keep on having these moments of remembering the bad lately, and just keep on praying that I'll start concentrating on the good again very soon. I feel like I need that, and I believe it will happen....maybe decorating your tree in exactly ONE WEEK will help.
November 13, 2011
Today has been one of those tough days for your Daddy and me. Your Daddy watched an inspiring video about a boy with Cerebral Palsy, and there were a lot of similarities between you and him so that triggered some emotions. I took your brother to church today, and while I was there I felt like I was in one of those movies where the lead character keeps on getting flashbacks of some terrible tragedy that happened in their life. My mind kept on flashing on different parts....your funeral, the times when I had to give you CPR, the time when the doctor told us there was nothing more he could do, the times when you were so sick and you struggled to take a single breath. All of these things kept on replaying in my mind, and I kept thinking to myself, "why, WHY do I do this...why can't I just remember the good stuff?". As the mass continued, the message was to not waste your gifts or talents that God gives you. I feel like you were certainly a gift that was given to me, and I often wonder if I am using my talents to continue your work in the ways that I should. All I can say is that I'm going to try harder. I feel guilty that I haven't gotten your Carter's Hope site up and running yet, and I need to get moving on it. It just seems like I have been busy with everything stuff...important stuff...but still just other stuff.
When I got home, I was looking through some files on my computer. My other laptop died, so I've been using my older one which is the one I had when you were here. I came across some more videos of you that I had forgotten about. Here is one of my favorites.
I just love how your pants are huge, and you're having so much fun. I am thankful to have found these, and wonder if I wouldn't have had a tough morning, how long would they have been missing? By watching the videos, I was also reminded of how hard it was for you here on Earth. I see you struggling to breathe, and it comforts me to know that you no longer have to work so hard. I just love you baby boy, and as much as I hate these tough days, I know that there will be some good days to follow.
November 9, 2011
Yesterday I was driving your brother and sister home from their church class and we were jamming to some Christmas songs. We've been listening to them for awhile now because they help us get in the mood to work on your tree....at least that's how we are justifying it!
Anyway, Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer came on so Mikey and Jovie just started belting it out as loud as they could. After it was over, Mikey told me that he really wanted to watch the movie. I told him that we definitely would this weekend. He started talking about the movie and about his favorite parts, and then told me that there was one part that he really didn't like. I asked which part it was, and completely expected him to say something about one of the songs or something. Instead, he made me the proudest momma ever!
He told me that he didn't like that Rudolph's dad didn't like his nose the way it was.
I felt my heart swell, and the tears come to my eyes because this is exactly what I had hoped he would have learned from you. That we love people for who they are, no matter what their differences are....and I have to admit that I am a bit stunned that at only eight years old he has obviously got it. You did that for him baby boy. You not only taught him that very important lesson, you taught it to all of us.
I am even more glad that we chose Rudolph as your theme, and I hope we make your proud with our tree. I love you my little sweetie!
November 7, 2011
I read to your little sister every night at bedtime, and on Saturday night we read the book, "The Word's Biggest Tea Party". It's about the ponies from My Little Pony and how they decide to throw a huge tea party. At the end of the story, I noticed a recipe for a kid friendly tea and an idea sparked in my head. I asked your sister if she would like to have a tea party with me, and saw her eyes light up immediately. She gave me a big nod and began spouting off question after question.
"And I can drink the tea"
"Can Brutus come?"
"Yep, and you can invite two more of your little friends"
"Can it be Peacotty and Thunderbolt?"
"What is tea?"
"It's a hot drink...kind of like coffee, but we'll make it sweet so you'll like it"
"Can we drink it out of the snowmen cups?"
"If you want to"
"Can we have treats?"
She went on and on and on until finally I had to put an end to it, and just tell her that it was time to go to sleep. Of course she called me into her room about twenty minutes later to tell me to remind her if she forgot.
I told her that we would do it on Monday, but that she'd have to make me an invitation...and one for Brutus of course!
There are so SO many times when I feel like my life, or rather the lives of my kids, feel like they are just speeding by. If there is one thing that you taught me, it's that I can't take any of these moments for granted. I have to try my best to just slooooooowwwww way down, and do these types of things more often. This has been easier said then done, because when Monday came around, and I still didn't feel very good and just wanted to sit on the couch, I really wanted to postpone the party....but I forced myself to get up and start making the tea....and you know what?? It was a blast! We listened to Christmas music, and had our treats (which ended up being Halloween candy), and chatted about what movies she wants to watch for Christmas. It was a nice relaxing afternoon with my girl. She's growing up, and it won't be long until she'll be at school all day long and I won't get the opportunity to do these things with her.
I think we'll do it again tomorrow.
November 6, 2011
The second thing that I'm thankful for is the Carter love that I still see in people. I get asked all of the time if we are going to order more shirts, and after folding the laundry this weekend and realizing that our shirts are just plain worn out, I've decided that it's definitely time.
So, here's the deal. The shirts are going to be the same design that we did before. I may change it sometime in the future, but this one still seems fitting to us. They will be a white tee, and will cost only $6 each. We aren't making any kind of profit off of this, and if more people order than we expect, that cost may go down a bit.
If you would like one, then please send me an email at teamcarterjay at gmail dot com, and we'll work it out. Sorry, but there aren't any kids' sizes this time. We're going to be ordering Adult Smalls for our little ones for now.
I want to get this order in by the weekend, so I'll need to know soon. I know a lot of us would like to sport our new Carter gear during the Festival Of Trees :)
Thank you so SO SO much for all of the Carter Love! We are surrounded by the best support system ever, and I KNOW that we wouldn't have made it through the last couple of years without it.
November 4, 2011
Today I am so very thankful for friends. I honestly don't think that I could have made it through the last couple of years without the support they offer me daily. Tonight I got to take four of my closest and dearest friends shopping for the rest of the decorations for your tree. I had the best time, and just love them so SO much!
We went to several stores, and came home with quite the haul! This tree is going to ROCK the Festival Trees...there's no doubt about it! Thank you so much to Becki, Gretchen, April, and Stephanie. I just love how much you love Carter, and I can't wait until Decorating Day to see this project come together!
November 3, 2011
I missed my post yesterday! Your Daddy is on vacation this week too, so we've been doing a lot of family movie nights this week. Hopefully your brother and sister don't start to expect them every night!
Today I am thankful for having a nice home to live in. It has been bitter cold the last couple of days, and I can't even imagine having to stay outside all of the time. While we were in Denver, we saw several homeless people who were making up their own beds right in the alcoves of the shops on the streets. I know that this is a growing problem in the United States, but I am just not exposed to it around here as much.
I am praying for all of those people that we saw on the streets today because it looks like Denver is getting pounded with snow again, and I can't imagine what they could be doing. I hope that God finds a way to take care of them and keep them warm. My heart really goes out to them.
November 1, 2011
I'm going to try to do the 30 Days Of Thanks challenge during the month of November. Of course there are so SO many things that I am thankful for, so these are in no particular order.
Today, I am most thankful for your Daddy and the trip he took me on this weekend. I am not lying when I say that many MANY of my dreams came true on this trip, and a lot of them were completely unplanned. I truly think that God was looking out for us on this trip!
The next day we took a trip to the stadium to check it out. We really are geeks when it comes to football, so it was fun to walk around while it wasn't busy. Here is a view from the stadium.
The game ended with my Lions really laying it on The Broncos, but your Daddy was a good sport about it. We really had the best time, and the best part was knowing that even after everything that has happened in the last couple of years, we can still have good things happen to us....for this we are thankful.
October 28, 2011
Last weekend was the school's annual Halloween Carnival. This year I got to help put it together and saw the "behind the scenes" and let me just say....there's a lot more that goes into planning these school carnivals than you would think. I only helped with some very minor details, and I was still tired!
Your brother and sister have some cute costumes this year. Jovie is of course Rapunzel, and Mikey is a Ninja. They seem to really like their costumes, and had fun dressing up for the costume parade.
October 27, 2011
October 25, 2011
Well, Halloween is just around the corner! Daddy and I are taking a trip a little later in the week, so we need to be sure that we get all of the Halloween traditions done before we go. A couple of weekends ago, we took a trip to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out our pumpkins. At first Jovie thought that she might like this one, but after we allowed your brother to get one of those HUGE ones, she changed her mind and got herself a huge one too!
October 24, 2011
As I explained before, I have somehow landed myself on the PTA board at your brother and sister's school. I used to work at a Junior High School, so in some ways this all feels like second nature to me. I love being in the school system, and am hopeful that next year I can find a job in one of our local schools again.
When I went to interview for the position at the Junior High, I was introduced to the Assistant Principal, Janet. I hit it off with her immediately (possibly because she knew your Grandma, but that's beside the point). My job was to mentor students who were struggling, but I was also an "assistant" to her in many ways. I learned many MANY things from her, and she became MY mentor and a very dear friend of mine. She was one of those people who has certainly helped to shape my life in many ways. Janet was AMAZING at writing grants, and finding people to donate money, so when I am raising money in your memory, I often think to myself "what would Janet do?".
I worked for Janet for about five years, and just before your big brother was born, I noticed a bit of a change in her. She started struggling with different aspects of her own life, and she just didn't seem like herself. At the time, all of these changes were subtle, but now looking back they are just pieces of the big picture. A couple of years later, she transferred to a different school and I didn't see much of her for awhile. I ran into her a few months later and was surprised at how "different" she was toward me. She acted as though we were just passing strangers, and I was absolutely crushed. I felt as though we had a special relationship....one that would never change especially after not seeing each other for only a couple of months. I remember crying and crying over it because my heart was simply broken.
A few months later she was diagnosed with Dementia.
Suddenly everything seemed so much clearer to me, and I no longer felt heartbroken over the way she had treated me, but instead began to mourn the loss of my friend. She deteriorated quickly, but her influence still continued to shape me for years to come...in fact she continues to do so even through everything we went through with you. I frequently recall certain things she would say to me when things were tough.
When I first joined the PTA at the beginning of the Summer, I was asked if I would be interested in applying for a Healthy Lifestyles Grant for our school. I thought about Janet and how much I had learned from her, and decided that it would be an awesome way to honor her. When I finished writing it, and turned it in...I thought there was no way we would get it.
But we did. It is only for $1000, but still...we got it!
And I know....I KNOW that it's all because of the things that this woman taught me, and I also KNOW that when I received an email from the people awarding the grant that stated that they wanted to bring a "big check" to present to us that this was also all part of Janet's sense of humor. Oh she was a funny one, that lady!
I was devastated when she left us to go to Heaven shortly after you did last year, but in my mind I knew that she had really been gone for a long time. At least now she can begin to teach you the things that she taught me, and I hope that you listen to her baby boy because she is one of a kind!
I love you Janet....thank you for your friendship. Take care of my sweet boy.
October 23, 2011
I'm still doing a bit of catch up here, but I'm slowly getting there! This weekend was pretty low-key. Daddy was out of town all last week, so we just hung out at home and enjoyed having our family "mostly" complete again. We've been watching a lot of movies lately. This weekend we watched the new Pirates Of The Caribbean. Poor Jovie was a bit upset when the mermaids turned out to be not so nice. We definitely don't deserve the parents of the year award....ha!
A few weeks ago, we were surprised when we heard that some of your biggest fans were coming to Utah for a visit. Pat and Ken are related to your Grandma Geri, and they've always shown so much love and support to us ever since you were born. They send encouraging cards, and have even sent letters to your brother and sister from their cute little Grand-Dog Chico. We are blessed to call them family, and were very excited to finally meet them. We had a barbeque at our house, and it turned out just lovely. I feel as though I've known these two forever, and just love them even more now. They drove all the way from Denver just to deliver the most adorable little dress that she had sewn for your auction. Aren't they just sweet?