February 28, 2011

Jay Is My Name

Dear Carter,
I'm actually going to do two posts on the letter "J", because I wanted to share an article I just wrote for a newsletter at Daddy's work. I love you Carter Jay!

Carter was sedated for the first few weeks of his life, so it took a little while for his real personality to shine through. As he started to get better, it wasn’t long before we realized that there really wasn’t much that this little baby couldn’t handle. He took every poke and prod with a courage that I had never seen in in such a small person. It was easy to see that he was a happy baby…a strong baby, and he wasn’t going to complain about the hand that he had been dealt.
I often wondered where he had picked up this trait. That calmness and just overall happiness even though he had every right to act miserable. We were all in awe of his strength and overall toughness, and nurses often made comments about it. It wasn’t until recently that I came to the conclusion that his Great-Grandpa Jay had given Carter more than his middle name.
Grandpa Jay, passed away recently at the age of 83. This amazing man had several trials in his life, but instead of just letting these take him down, he found new ways to overcome them. At the young age of 21, Jay came home from work one day with flu-like symptoms. Soon after he was diagnosed with Polio, and as a result, Jay lost the use of muscle in his legs. He had a wife and a one year old son at home, so I’m sure that he must have had a lot of fear about how he would take care of them, but he still managed to keep his positive attitude. Jay had to spend an entire year in the hospital, but he never once took on the “why me?” attitude. I can’t imagine the kind of courage it must have taken for him to leave behind the life he knew, and try to find a new way.
After Jay finally returned home, he and his wife worked on building up his upper body strength to compensate for the loss of use of his legs. In the beginning he could walk with the use of canes, but eventually he began to use a wheelchair. Jay developed a passion for his wood working hobby which he easily mastered. That man could take a piece of wood and turn it into something spectacular. It was as if his hands were magical.

In 2006, Jay suffered a stroke that left him without the use of one of his arms. Not only did this mean that he would need to live in a nursing home apart from his wife, but it also meant that he could no longer practice his passion for woodworking. Once again he showed us courage when he started yet another new journey. Not once did he show any hint of sadness over his new path. Instead of complaining about his situation, he made the very best of it, and began a new hobby in painting ceramics. Of course, none of us were surprised when he quickly mastered it.

It’s amazing to me how Jay could stay so positive through all of this. There is so much more to his story which includes the loss of his son, and a battle with Cancer. Grandpa made the best of everything he could with what he had been given, much like Carter did. It really is only fitting that they share the same name… Jay.

February 23, 2011


Dear Carter,
In honor of the upcoming "Spread The Word To End The Word" day, I thought that I'd share some of my experiences with the dreaded "R-Word".
I was at a clothing store about a week ago, and there was a clerk who was ringing up a lady at the counter. I was still browsing through the store, but was close enough to hear their conversation, and at one point the clerk said "I'm sorry I'm being so retarded". I felt suddenly sick to my stomach, and just ended up leaving. On another day I might have confronted the clerk, but on this particular day I was already missing you, and thought it was best to leave it alone without becoming a tearful mess.
I know that this clerk wasn't trying to hurt anybody, she was just being ignorant.
Have you ever heard the saying "Ignorance is bliss?" I think that is absolutely true for the person who is being ignorant, but in this case it can be hurtful for those surrounding them. I often wonder how many words I have used that have hurt somebody in that same way. I pray not many.

Whenever I hear the word "retard", or "retarded", I have the same reaction.
I feel sick.
I feel like I need to stand up for you.
I feel like I still need to fight for you.

I HATE that word. I hate it so much that for the rest of this post, I will be only referring to the "R" word. I suspect that the way I feel about the "R" word is quite similar to the way some people feel about the "N" word. It feels disrespectful and disgusting. People with special needs are just that....people, and they deserve to be treated with the same respect as everyone else without being referred to with a terrible name.

I have to be honest here and tell you that I don't even remember thinking much about it before you were born. I can't even remember if I have ever used it. I was completely and utterly ignorant to the power of this one single word, but I promise that I'm not anymore.

Here's the thing about the "R" word.

It hurts.

It doesn't matter what sense it is used in.

It still hurts.
At least it does for this mommy who will keep trying to "Spread The Word To End The Word".

February 20, 2011

Jovie's Birthday Party

Dear Carter,
Your sister says that she had the best birthday ever! She's quite proud of herself for being five now, and begins practically every sentence with "now that I'm five, I can...". What a cutie! Daddy was so sweet, and brought her home a rose. She loved it!She also got a bouquet of butterflies, colorful birds, and flower cookies from our friends Kathy and Terry. Thank you! She loved them...it was a chore to keep her from diving into them long enough to get a picture. Ha!Her Peacock cake. It turned out much better than I expected. She was thrilled that she has another peacock to add to her collection. And our girl finally got to have her own pinata. She usually doesn't because it's so cold outside, but we made sure to get her one this year. It was cold outside, but the kids had fun!Ignore the crazy tumbling hair. This is what happens when you practice your "tricks" over and over and over again.And last, but not least. I KNOW that some of you are DYING to see our new little guy. He is doing so well, and really has been very healing for me (and I'm pretty sure for the rest of the family too). He has gotten his confidence, and has no problem barking at the other dogs to let them know his opinion. He's also not afraid of the snow, and has plowed his own path even when the snow is taller than him! I just love his little personality!

February 18, 2011


Dear Carter,
Today is a BIG day for us. Your big sister is turning FIVE! We're all so happy for her because this is a big milestone for her. She's ecstatic about her party tonight, and requested a peacock theme which was a little tricky, but with a little compromise we are making it work.

When we were pregnant with Jovie, we decided not to find out the sex of the baby. I was determined that she was going to be a boy, but Daddy thought otherwise. His theory was that the reason I was so mean all of the time was because I had too many female hormones in one body. He may have been on to something there! I remember the day she was born just like it was yesterday. We had scheduled for her to be delivered on the 21st since all of our birthdays fall on the 21st, but started feeling some strong contractions that morning. Daddy, Mikey, and I all went shopping where they just kept on coming on stronger. Daddy finally convinced me to go to the hospital at around 5:00 pm. I was definitely in labor, but not progressing too much. They started me on Pitocin, and I progressed quickly after that. She was born after two pushes. My little 6 lb. 11 oz sweetheart.

I remember feeling absolutely shocked that I had a little girl now. We had several names picked out, but after a few minutes we decided that Jovie Lynn would be her name. This year your sister has accomplished so many things! She learned how to write her name, your name, and everyone else's name in the family (she's still working on learning how to write Brutus). She is a very talented artist, and is doing excellent in her dance and tumbling classes. Jovie also started playing Soccer last Spring. Most importantly, she's learning all about God and Jesus. We are so proud of her, and are blessed to have her in our family.

Here is a picture from Jovie's first day of school when she had to wear her butterfly outfit to take you with her.

The day that she put these tattoos on all by herself, then showed me her "guns"
The incredible peacock costume! Oh this girl and her peacocks!
Our trip to the Dinosaur museum. I love her eyes!

Just like her momma....loves taking pictures. We were trying to catch a rainbow here.
Hanging out at Mikey's T-ball game. She's a natural beauty.
Butterflies again! This girl loves you!

Showing some of her spunk. Yes, that's an AC/DC shirt in her size. Just like her momma!
Jovie Lynn, we love you more than anything. Thank you for being our little sweetheart and for taking such good care of your brothers. Baby girl, you can do anything you put your mind to!

February 16, 2011


Dear Carter,
Well, little Brutus is fitting right into our family. He is a really good puppy, although he has kept me up every night since he got home. I know that he'll figure out his schedule sometime soon though.

As I say Hello to our new little friend, I was so sad to learn that we will have to say goodbye to another important person in our lives. He probably has no idea how important he really has been to us, but he has been the shepherd for our faith for most of our adult lives.

Our favorite priest and the pastor of our church, Monsignor Bonnell, announced his retirement to us on Sunday. Although we knew that he obviously couldn't work forever, we were a bit stunned by this announcement. It just seemed that he would somehow always be there, and I guess in a way he always will. We aren't quite ready for him to go yet, but we know that he deserves his time to rest. He certainly holds a special place in our hearts, and has been especially helpful during the time when you went to Heaven.

Monsignor has been at our church since 1989, and has actually been an ordained priest since 1960. Isn't that amazing! Some might find him to be a little harsh, but that quality is something that we have always appreciated about him. Our family had their first encounter with him when he performed your Grandpa Mike's funeral. We didn't see him too much more after that until 2002 when your Daddy and I decided that it was time to get involved with the church. We signed up for his adult Catholic education classed, and that is when our relationship with Monsignor truly began to develop. He is an amazing teacher, and has a spectacular way of explaining every tidbit of the Bible, Jesus Christ, and our church. I honestly feel like my relationship with God is so much stronger just because of Monsignor.

During our time with Monsignor not only did he perform your Grandpa's funeral, but he has married your Daddy and I in the church, and baptized your Daddy, Mikey, and Jovie. He also came to the hospital within an hour of you being born to give you a blessing. He checked on you at the NICU several times before you were transferred to the children's hospital, and made phone calls to us to be sure that you were doing OK. We were planning on having him baptize you as well, but things got a little crazy, and another priest ended up doing it. Monsignor also performed your funeral, and everything he had to say during it was simply perfect. He has been comforting through our whole journey of mourning for you.

We are still simply sad to say goodbye to such an amazing man, but feel incredibly blessed that we had him in our lives. When he announced his retirement the very first thing I thought was "not yet....I'm not ready" and then I realized that this was how I felt when you left too. I just need to be thankful for the time I have been blessed with, and not dwell on what time I didn't get. You had better believe that I will be listening to each of his final masses intently trying to soak up all of the messages that he has yet to give us.

I know that we will be OK...I know that he will be OK. In a small way I am actually excited to see where our new pastor will lead us, but for now we have to say goodbye to our shepherd.

Although I know that he will never read this, I want to say thank you to Monsignor Bonnell.....and goodbye.

February 12, 2011


Dear Carter,
What a whirlwind day it was! It certainly ended a way that I never expected!

Last night your Daddy and I had a conversation about how far we have come since you left, and also how far we have left to go. We just felt like we needed a change in our family...somebody to take care of.,,something new. We had kind of left it at that, and I never dreamed that today we would be on the hunt for a puppy!

We started off going to the local animal shelter, only to find that it had moved to another location. We decided to drive to the new location, and on our way there we saw somebody selling full-bred puppies...it's unusual for me to want a full-bred since I typically am more of a mutt person, but we decided to stop and take a look. There was one little puppy in particular who caught my eye. I picked him up and cuddled with him for a moment...then had second thoughts and put him back down. I thought that it would probably be best to think about it for a little while, but then another lady came up and picked up that same puppy. I felt my heart say "put OUR puppy down!!", so when she did I told the owner that we wanted him. Michael made a quick trip to the ATM, and we were off on our new adventure.

So, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of our family.
Meet Brutus! Our new little Pug puppy, and the newest member of Team Carter (I think he should be the mascot!)

Brutus loves story time!

Brutus, we already love you so much. We know that you are going to be good for our family, and we also know that it was no accident that you were waiting for us on that street corner today. Welcome to our family!

February 8, 2011


Dear Carter,

Another little angel left us to be with you in Heaven this week. Her name is Lily, and she has a big sister, Charlotte, who is up there with you too. Here is her family's blog . I had read this blog awhile back before Lily was even born, and had wanted to try and find it again after you left...but I couldn't remember how I originally found it. Yesterday I came across it again, and my heart is broken for her family...

and for ours.

Reading it has brought back a million memories. It brought back the sadness that had been dulled for a few days. We have a lot in common with this family. A lot of yucky decisions that had to be made which resulted in our pain of missing you, but in knowing that you are taken care of.

It sucks when you feel like you have to decide that your child has had enough. Enough pain. Enough of this life. As much as I want to believe that the decision to let you go was in God's hands (isn't it always?), we still have to live with the pain, the guilt, and worst of all the "what ifs?". I KNOW it was God's decision MOST of the time, but there are those times, late at night, when the Devil plays tricks on my mind and I feel the full weight of our decision upon my shoulders.

I don't know that those feelings will ever go away....mainly because there is the selfish part of me that feels like I didn't get enough of you.

That's the human part of us. The part that would have never had enough of your smiles, or your giggles, or your grunts. I looked up the word, and the definition for Enough is "adequate for the want or need". Right now I feel like I want and need more of you than I was ever given...

But really it would never. Ever. EVER be Enough. How could it be? You are my baby.

Part of living in this world is knowing that we will always want more.

We will always eventually get hungry again.
We will always crave more
We will always have thirst for something

But if we believe in our God....If we can just give into the fact that we will always feel the need for more...if we believe that there is something more beyond this world....believe that you truly are in a better place....believe that there is a reason behind all of this.

That really should be enough for me.

And it is. Most of the time.

February 7, 2011

Here it is!

Dear Carter,

I'm still working on finding a word that starts with the letter E, but I'm coming up blank. I'm going to think on it a little more. We've all been still recovering from the flu/virus thingy that attacked our house. I'm so glad that we're finally coming out on the other side of it!

We got the registration information for the Operation Smile 5K/1 Mile Walk. You can either click on the button on the left sidebar, or you can use this link:

Operation Smile 5K

Even if you can't make it, you can still sign up and we'll get your shirt to you (just let me know!). It's only $15 for the 5K and $12 for the walk, and it goes toward a GREAT CAUSE!

Thank you to everyone for your continued support. We love that our little guy can continue to live on in this way.

February 3, 2011


Dear Carter,

One of my very, very favorite days with you was your first birthday. Unfortunately, it was the only birthday we got to spend with you, so I'm SO happy that it was such a blessed day. Last year the Operation Smile 5K actually fell right smack dab on your birthday, so we packed up some members of Team Carter and kicked off your special day by participating in the race. It was SO much fun! What made it even better was knowing that we were helping a bunch of kids get new smiles, and it was all because of you!

Well, I've been waiting for the opportunity to sign up for the 4th Annual Operation Smile 5K, and I just noticed that the website is up! Wahoo!

You can check it out here:

So, here's the scoop on it!

The 5K race and One mile walk is on March 26th at Timpanogos Park in Provo Canyon. It starts at 10:00 am.
We're going to celebrate your birthday again this year by participating, and we want
AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE to join us. We want to try and make this BIGGER than the Clinton City 5K! Remember, this is ALL for charity!

It looks like it's a little too early to register, but I will keep you updated on that....just please save the date. We would LOVE to see you there!


Dear Carter,

Our whole house is still fighting off the sickness, but I think we've turned the corner now and are starting to get better. This was a respiratory illness, so in a small way I'm glad that you aren't here for it. I can only imagine that you would have been a super sick kid, and would have probably had to make a visit to the PICU.

As I was driving home the other day, I heard an interesting conversation on the radio about dreams. Somebody was saying that dreams are the time of our day when God can really speak to us. I guess that could be true, but wonder what he could possibly trying to tell me with some of the crazy dreams my brain comes up with. Ha!

I always go to bed praying that I will dream of you.

I really want to have that feeling of holding you again...of smelling your sweet scent...of kissing your cheek even if it's only in my dreams. I've been told that some of your cousins and friends of our family have had dreams about you, and I'm always quite jealous. I have had one very short dream in which I got to hold you, but it only lasted what seemed like a few moments, and it certainly made me hungry for more.

It wasn't until recently that I realized that as much as I want to....I probably won't dream of you for awhile. I honestly think that it may be God's way of protecting me. He knows that if I were to dream about you, then I'd probably never want to wake up. I'd want to stay in bed all day and do nothing but sleep, so for now I'm OK with this....

but I certainly won't stop praying that I'll get to meet you again.

In my dreams.