March 28, 2011

Birthday Weekend Day #2

Dear Carter, I'll be honest in saying that when I woke up on your birthday, I did NOT want to get out of bed. I hadn't really had a day like that yet, so I guess it's ok. I finally said a little prayer, read a little out of my bible, and got myself out of bed. The night before, Mikey finally had a bit of a breakdown because he misses his baby brother so much. He really hadn't shown much emotion about it since you left, so it was kind of unexpected. We were told by the child psychologists at the hospital to expect this kind of thing from him about a year after you passed away, and I'm amazed at how spot on they were. I think that he's feeling a bit better since we had a long talk, but it just made it a little harder on your mommy to be missing one of her sons and seeing the other one hurting. I think it was really good for Mikey to talk about these feelings, and am so glad that he felt comfortable enough to talk to me about it. We decided that today would be a good day to plant our flowers for the year. We're going to try growing them from seed this year. We even planted a special plant named after you! Afterward, we headed out to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate your birthday. I think it was a really good idea to do something fun on your day rather than stay holed up in our house. Your brother and sister had a really good time! The next part of your birthday was visiting your grave to sing Happy Birthday to you. It's an understatement to say that your grave stood out on your birthday!
Daddy even found you a rock with a butterfly on it that read "Peace". Later that afternoon, our sweet friends, The Travis and The Daltons brought over a cake to celebrate Carter (our friends The Mitchells were there in spirit!) The cake was adorably perfect! It had butterflies at each corner! Loved it!


After the cake, we called it a very early night. We made it through sweet baby boy, but it wasn't without a lot of tears and missing you! Love you and Happy Birthday!!

Birthday Weekend Day 1

Dear Carter, I'm sitting down tonight, on your birthday, and recapping the whole weekend because I don't want to forget a single moment of it. So, look forward to a new post for the next few days to get you caught up. I'm just going to schedule them out. As you know, we had been planning on doing the Operation Smile 5k and 1 mile walk in honor of you. We woke up early on Saturday morning, and made the trip down there. Let me tell you it was COLD!!!! I mean, BITTER COLD! BUT, as you can see from the picture, we had quite the turnout for you! I was amazed by how many people showed up even with all of that snow on the ground. (I also need to state that there are a few very important people missing from this picture... we caught them in other pictures). AND there were several people who ran this 5K from afar. Thank you to everyone who participated! Mikey and Jovie were all bundled up, and a bit less than thrilled with the elements. They were troopers though, and pulled through it....even after Jovie spilled her hot chocolate all down her pants (thanks to the group who helped her clean up from that fiasco!) You cousins made some signs to cheer on the runners. Aren't they perfect?!
The runner's course was pretty treacherous. There were some parts that were completely covered in ice. I know that some of our friends and family left with some scrapes and bruises...but as Daddy says.."nothing in Carter's life was easy, so why should this be?". Check out our railroad family. This is a handsome bunch!
Yeah, it really was cold!!
I have a lot more pictures coming, but this is all I've got for right now. After the walk/run was over, the sun started to shine a bit and helped to warm us up. I was extremely nervous because I got asked to tell your story in front of all of the runners/walkers. I haven't done any kind of public speaking since college, so it was WAY out of my element. Daddy and I went up there, and I did my best. To be honest, my mind went blank and I don't really remember what I said, but nonetheless I did it! We had quite a few people come up to us afterward and ask questions about you and Team Carter, so I think it was well worth it!


After the race, we stopped for a quick bite at In and Out Burger (we thought it was the right thing to do since they donated to the race), and then got ready for a Mass said in your name at our church.


The mass was beautiful, but it was hard too. They started off the service with Amazing Grace which was played at your funeral. The whole thing was just emotional, but it was also calming at the same time. I feel like it gave me strength to get through Sunday.

March 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Carter Jay!

Dear Carter, I have to admit that today is really hard...on all of us. We are going to be doing a few fun things today to celebrate your birthday, and yesterday we did some cool things in your honor. I will be updating on all of it tomorrow, but wanted to share this video that I made for your birthday last year. We love you little sweetie, and are hoping there is one huge celebration for you up there in Heaven. Happy Birthday my little Bubba Jay.

video

March 25, 2011

The Birthday Weekend!

Dear Carter,
Your big birthday weekend kicks off tomorrow morning! Right now I'm just praying that the weather forecast is right, and the huge snowflakes that are falling outside right now will stop. If not, I guess we'll be running and walking in the snow!

It seems like we've been planning this event forever, and it's so surreal to know that it is finally here. It brings with it a miriad of emotions...most of them happy, but of course that overwhelming sadness and anger comes out sometimes too.

We are excited to see all of our friends and family tomorrow. I can't believe how much support you all have shown for this event. We appreciate it more than you could know. We are blessed to have so many people in our lives who love Carter. Thank you for everything! I can't wait to update with pictures from the walk/run tomorrow. We hope to see you all there!

March 24, 2011

Not Fair

Dear Carter,

I woke up today with that "not fair" cloud hanging over my head. I knew that this would be coming with your birthday so soon, so I was prepared for it. It doesn't make it any easier. Maybe it's because I decorated your grave for your 2nd birthday instead of decorating the house for your party. It just makes me feel like this really isn't fair.

I just don't understand why you had to go so soon. And I know that I will never understand. It's hard to accept both of these things, but that's just the way it is. Obviously God had a plan, and maybe one day it will be revealed to me. Until then, I'm going to have plenty of these "not fair" days to ponder the questions that burn in my heart.

It's on these days that I remember something that my very dear friend had said to me once. I met her quite a few years ago, and she had lost her husband at a young age. She had two young kids at home, and she was now a single parent to them. I met her about a month after her life had made this drastic change, and I was always amazed at how well she handled the situation. She always did her best to put a positive spin on things, and to continue on with a happy life despite grieving the loss of her husband. Of course she had her bad days too, but I remember her once saying that she felt like she had a choice in this situation...she could either let the grief completely overwhelm her, OR she could do her best to continue to live a happy life. I've always carried that conversation with me, and never knew how much I would need those words until after we lost Carter. I believe she was a person who God put into my life just to carry this message to me, and I am incredibly thankful for these little miracles.

When it became evident that you would be leaving us soon, I was at a crossroads with my faith. Either I could choose to let the grief overwhelm me and fill my heart with anger, or I could trust that He is in fact bigger than all of this and believe that there is a reason behind it. That we have to endure this life of missing you for a reason.

I choose to praise God even on these days when I feel like it's not fair.

It find it only ironic that today it is pouring rain outside because it goes right along with a song that has become my mantra over the last few months. I'm not lying when I say I listen to this at LEAST 2-3 times a day, and I can feel every single word of it. Today while we were listening to it, Jovie said to me that she loves God. I asked her why, and she said "because he took Carter to Heaven to be with Him".

Amazing that something so profound can come from the mouth of a five year old.

I need to be more like her.

March 23, 2011

Saturday

Dear Carter,
Life has been so busy this last week, and I just haven't had much time to blog. I hope to get everyone caught up on my amazing week tomorrow, but before that I just wanted to remind you that the big Operation Smile 1 mile walk and 5K is going on THIS Saturday. It's not too late to sign up by clicking on the orange button on our side bar over there <------.

I also wanted to let you know that if you can't make it, you can also make donations to Operation Smile through that same link. Every single penny helps since it only takes $240 to change one child's life forever!

I'm so excited for Saturday, and so nervous for your birthday on Sunday. It feels good to do something for you, but I know that this is going to be a very hard weekend for you. We can only be thankful that we have so much love and support around us.

I love you my little sweetie pie, and I miss you like crazy! I hope they have birthday parties in Heaven, and that there will be one heck of a huge bash up there. You deserve it!

March 17, 2011

Moments

Dear Carter,
I still miss you every moment of every single day, but lately I have really felt at peace with you being gone...that's not to say it won't change at any time. But right now, I feel OK with it. I know that it is all because I have so much faith that you are with our God, and that we will be with you again. Those moments we will have with you will be much, much, much longer than these moments that I have without you.

Now, saying that I'm at peace with it does not mean that it hurts any less. I want you to be here with me....I want to hold you...to love on you...to just see your adorable little face.

I just simply miss you.

I miss all of the moments that we did have together. The missing you makes me want to enjoy the other little moments that I get to have with your Daddy, brother and sister, and I appreciate them so much more.

Moments like today when I picked up Jovie from her tumbling class, and she couldn't wait to tell me that she had finally passed off a tumbling trick that she has been working on for weeks. I couldn't have been more proud of her, and when I told her so she said to me "You know Momma, I'm really proud of myself". What a precious little girl!

Moments like this when I forced the kids to do a quick St. Patrick's Day photo shoot, and they obliged for me without complaint (of course I did coerce them with brownies). I love how they love each other and you so much! Moments like this when your brother and sister were amazed at how a leprechaun could really turn our local fountain green. They were so excited to see it!

Moments like tonight when we all sat in our backyard and just enjoyed the company of each other. I appreciate all of these moments, and pray that there are many more. I only wish that we could have had all of these moments with you.
And I really know that in some way we did.

March 15, 2011

It's Coming!

Dear Carter,
The big Operation Smile event is just around the corner!! I'm beyond excited to celebrate your birthday this way. It's the only appropriate way in my book!
Just to let everyone know... if you want to be guaranteed a shirt, then be sure to sign up by tomorrow night. It is going to have the Team Carter logo on the back with the rest of the sponsors. Hooray!!

To sign up, just click on the orange 5K logo on the left side of this blog.

Also, I know that there are some people who would like to participate in this from afar. You can still sign up, then email me your address and I will ship your shirt & goodie bag to you. Just be sure that I know that I'm supposed to pick it up! You can also make donations to Operation Smile through that same link.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. It helps so much to know that Carter can still change the world!

March 9, 2011

Last

Dear Carter,

Things have been looking a little bit up for me lately. Of course I still miss you like crazy, but I've been feeling a bit more peace with not having you here with me. This all stems from my solid belief that you are indeed in Heaven with our God. I am so blessed that God has graced me with my faith.

While things have been better, I've also been feeling a lot of anxiety over upcoming events. There are a lot of milestones coming up...some that seem unbearable to me. I know that we'll get through them, but it won't be without a lot of heartache.

It seems that I live every day using the word "last" in my thoughts. Sometimes it's when I remember the last time I did certain things with you.

Oh how I miss the last time I snuggled with you in our chair and rocked you to sleep.
Or the last time I snuck you into my bed in the middle of the night just to feel you close to me.
Or the last time I kissed you on your little cheek in my very favorite place.
Or the last time I ran my hand over the top of your head just to feel your tiny hairs.
Or the last time you laughed at your Daddy.
Or the last time I watched you suck on your monkey binky while watching your crib toy.

I miss all of those last times like crazy, and I try my hardest to imprint them in my mind as to not forget even the smallest details. I find comfort in all of this with the knowledge that those times were not the last times that you did those things....they were just the last times that I got to witness them in this world.

Sometimes the word "last" comes up in different ways.

We are coming up on the celebration for your birthday. We had no idea that you would have your first and last birthday all on one day. I can't help but think about where we were last year on that day.


And I'm nervous and excited for the upcoming Operation Smile event where we'll surely be celebrating your second birthday.

And remembering that you were there with us last year.


If you would like to join us for this event on March 26th, you can simply click on the logo on the left sidebar. It is only $15 for the 5K run, and $12 for the walk. I have chatted with the race director, and there is going to be a ton of drawings and maybe live music! Seriously, this was a FUN event last year, and they are making it even bigger and better this year. I hope to see you there!

March 7, 2011

Keep On Keepin' On

Dear Carter,

I guess that the title of this post was really no surprise. Ever since Daddy said these words when you were only a couple of weeks old, they somehow became our motto for you.

We are still keepin' on. Trying to keep on without you and live this life the best we can. The hard part is that there really is no handbook for how to live your life after losing a child. It's a different process for everyone who goes through it. There have been a few fellow bloggers who have lost their children over the last couple of weeks, and I can see such a huge difference in the ways that each mommy grieves. I can understand what most of them are feeling and remember what it was like to be in those places, and then I read blogs from people who have lost children before me to see what it might be like later. There seems to be one consistent pattern.

We are all afraid that our little angels will someday be forgotten.

Your brother and sister are so young. I find myself trying to do things to keep the memory of you fresh. This is a delicate balance because I don't want Mikey and Jovie's whole life to be about you, BUT I definitely want you to be big part of it. Even outside of our circle, you were an important part of this world. I don't want anybody to forget it. This is why we continue to do 5K runs and fundraisers in your name. We have to find any way that we can to keep your memory alive. In your short life, I know that you made an impression...I hear it from people all of the time. You changed people's lives baby boy, and I believe all of them for the better. You were an amazing gift to all of us. The really incredible part is that even though you have left this world, you have managed to keep on keepin' on.

And we will too.

March 2, 2011

March 1, 2011

The Journey

Dear Carter,
I had a plan to do a long post about our journey to you, and our continuing journey without you. That was until I was going through some pictures tonight, and came across this one. I believe that it pretty much says it all.

The moments like this made the journey with you so amazingly perfect.

They were also what make the journey without you so hard.

But knowing that you are waiting at the finish line is what makes it all worth it.

I love you.