April 27, 2011

Surgery Day

Dear Carter,
Today was emotional in our house.
I took Ajax to the vet this morning, and after an X-Ray they found that he had a bladder stone that was the size of a marble! The only way to fix this was with surgery.

Sigh.

Although he's a dog, and the circumstances are completely different, it brought back a lot of feelings. It was hard letting them take him away from me, and I'll admit it...I left in tears.
I'm sure that medical things like this will always get to me in some way. It's just part of living a life after losing a medically fragile child.
Ajax came through the surgery with only a few minor complications, and is now home resting in his kennel. I would love to let him cuddle in bed with me, but I'm pretty sure that Brutus would try wrestling with him all night long. I'll be taking good care of him, and hopefully he'll be back to his lazy self in no time.
I've been watching a lot of videos of you the last couple of days. I have felt like some of my memories of you have faded a bit, and the thought of that terrifies me. I'm so happy that I have the videos to remind me of what your little laugh sounded like. I love you sweetie pie.

Pee is for Patience

Dear Carter,
I'm continuing on with the alphabet challenge, and I know that this just seems like a crazy title but hang with me...I'm just trying to kill two birds with one stone here.
As for the patience.
It is something that I definitely don't have enough of. I think that most mommies feel this way. Like you don't ever want to lose your cool with certain situations in your life, but sometimes...SOMETIMES you finally get to the end of your rope.
Lately I've had more and more of those days when I feel overwhelmed with the reality that I won't ever EVER see you again in this lifetime. I'm sure that it has to do with all of the "firsts" we've gone through in the last few months. Although I know that life in this world is only a sentence in our whole book, most of the time it doesn't feel that way. The only thing I can do is pray to God to give me the patience I need.
The patience to accept that our hearts will always have a piece missing. The piece that you carried with you to Heaven.
Now when I think about our journey together, I realize that your entire life was almost like a test of patience for me. It was stretching my patience...getting it ready for the trials that were to come. All of that time spent waiting for you to get out of the NICU, then smile, then gain head control, then grab objects were just little exercises to teach me that with enough patience I would finally see the reward at the end of the trial.
And in this case, that reward couldn't be greater. I will continue to do my best to have patience.
OK, so now onto a COMPLETELY different subject. Pee.
A couple of weeks ago, after my chasing of Brutus around the neighbor's car while the brand new neighbors watched me run in circles, and the other neighbor held back her huge German Shephard from eating Brutus...we noticed that Ajax had a little issue with his pee.
Poor puppy.
I called the vet, and they told me to bring him in the next morning. They also wanted me to bring in a urine sample. After scratching my head for a few moments, I asked them how in the world I was going to manage that? They suggested that I use a soup ladle to catch it. After informing your Daddy of this situation, he asked if he could take a day off of work to film my attempt at this...I politely declined.
The whole process went better than expected, and we were off with the sample in tow. After he was checked out, it was decided that he had a bladder infection. He was put on antibiotics and sent home. Ajax was doing well after a couple of days, so I figured we had gotten over this, but over the weekend he started acting funny again. I'm taking him back into the vet in the morning, and they are going to do an X-Ray. The doctor thinks that he probably has bladder stones which will require surgery. I'm really hoping and praying that we don't have to go that route. You'd think I'd be used to all of the medical stuff by now, but this one is a new one for me.

April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

Dear Carter,
Easter has always been your holiday in my mind. I don't know if it's because we got two of them with you...if it's because it was your first holiday, or if it's because I know that you wouldn't be in Heaven without Easter. I really wish that you could have joined in on the festivities, but I know that in a way you were there with us.
On Saturday, we took your brother and sister to the Easter egg hunt at the church.Awww, look at Jovie leaning in on her brother. Once the whistle blew, they were off on their own separate ways. They gathered up a haul. Afterward, we had your grandparents and our friend all over for a pre-Easter meal. The kids had a great time roasting marshmallows with Daddy and Grandpa.
I swear, your brother and sister would roast marshmallows every night if we let them!
Jovie left some carrots for "Easter". We got them in bed early so that he could come, but Jovie had a hard time falling asleep. She finally gave in at about 1:00 AM. Then Mikey woke all of us up at 6:00 AM. It was a short night! They were quite excited by their baskets regardless of the lack of sleep.
Easter even brought them the Milo and Otis DVD. Both of them thought that it was for Brutus. He liked it too!
We went to church early, then went over to Grandma Geri's house for an egg hunt and dinner. Look at all of your cousins together. They had a blast!
It was a nice weekend, but not without a lot of missing you.

April 25, 2011

The Memory



Dear Carter,


Check out the candle that grandma gave us for you. We light it on important days, or whenever we have a family get-together. It sits right by a picture of you.

I promise that I'm still going to share pictures from our Easter celebration, but I wanted to write out this post while it was still fresh in my mind.

We went to church on Easter Sunday, and what a beautiful service it was. I'm not sure if I remember going to church on Easter day before....we usually go the night before for the Easter Vigil where you can watch the new members be baptized. This year the service seemed even more meaningful to me.

I know that it's because of you.

Without Easter, I wouldn't have the faith that we will be together again. During the service I could actually feel the full weight of what Jesus did for us. It was emotional in a good way, and I hope I can carry that feeling throughout the year. That feeling of thankfulness.

The priest gave his homily, and he talked about what it must have been like for Jesus' family and friends to mourn His death, and then to find out He had risen. The priest told us a story about a woman who had been notified of her son's death by the military, and mourned for him for two days before finding out that he was actually alive. It brought back a memory for me which I had completely forgotten about.

When I was sixteen I had a friend named Jake. He was one of my very best friends, but we had drifted a bit since starting high school. Mostly I hung out with him in the summertime when we would work for the city's recreation department.

I was working at McDonald's late one night when my mom came in (yes, I was the stereotypical teenager....at least when it came to my workplace). I could tell from the moment that she walked in that something was wrong. She came up to me and asked if she could talk to me. We walked into the corner of the restaurant and she gave me news that nobody ever wants to hear.


Jake had been killed in a car accident.


My heart sunk. I started to feel as though I couldn't breathe. I wanted to throw up.


This was my very first experience with death as an adult, and at that time I remember being incredibly angry at God for taking him away. I remember not being able to wrap my head around it....I would never see him again. How could this be??

I left work early, and my mom drove me home. I remember my friend Melissa came over, and we talked and cried all night long. I felt as though I might never get out of bed. It was one of the longest nights of my life (that is until last year of course). My Daddy was working nights, and when he came home I remember him just holding me and telling me it would be OK. Oddly enough, I have practically the same memory when my mom told me my great-grandmother had passed away, and I think I was only nine years old then. I love my Daddy.


The next morning, the craziest thing happened.


My mom came to tell me that Jake was alive.


Unfortunately, a Jake had been killed in an accident (God bless him), but it wasn't MY Jake. No, my mom doesn't have a sick sense of humor (love you mom!).Somewhere along the line of spreading news, the information had been twisted.

I remember feeling that intense feeling of relief, and wanting to spend as much time with him as possible. I had lost my friend forever, but now he was here....he had never left.

I wonder if that's how Jesus' family and friends felt when they found out He had risen. That they had lost Him forever, but then found out that in a way He had never really left. Can you imagine the relief and joy that must have been flowing through their hearts?

April 24, 2011

All You Need Is Pug

Dear Carter,
I'll post pictures from our crazy busy weekend tomorrow, but for today I thought I'd have a little fun and enter a photo of the mini beefcake into a pet photography challenge over at
So, here is the little guy doing his famous head tilt.

I can't tell you how healing this little puppy has been for me. He's just so sweet and cuddly (OK....OK, maybe he's only cuddly when he's tired, but still..). He certainly keeps me busy, and makes me laugh all.the.time. If you've never owned a Pug before, let me tell you....they are in a league all their own.I find it incredibly ironic that he has a small birth defect (an umbilical hernia) which will have to be corrected with surgery, AND that the vet was sure to point out that Pugs have very small tracheas.
Oh my! Did we pick the right dog for our family, or what?!?!

Oh how I love him, and wish that he'd stay tiny forever....except for the chewing....the chewing I could live without.

And the running away from me in front of the new neighbors, and making me chase him around the neighbors car for 10 minutes while she held her 90 lb German Shephard puppy back to prevent her from eating Brutus.



I could have lived without that too.



Although I must admit it's kind of funny when I look back on it.

April 23, 2011

The Hula Queen

Dear Carter,
Jovie has been obsessed with mastering the Hula Hoop ever since she got one for Christmas. She has gotten very good at it, and has even learned a few new tricks like walking around while doing the hula, and using two at one time.

When we got back from Disneyland, Daddy found out that our local grocery was going to be having a Hula Hoop contest, so he asked Jovie if she'd like to enter. She was excited to show off her skills, and headed right up there to enter.

Daddy says that they handed her the Hula Hoop with pity, and treated her like she didn't stand a chance....but check out what she did!!


video
She was up against about 8 bigger kids, and she schooled them on how hula hooping should be done. We were so proud of her, and she was really proud of herself. It's really neat to see your child accomplish something like this...especially when the odds seemed to be stacked against her. Daddy said that people kept on cheering for her and saying things like "look at that little girl go!", and "she has mad skills". Oh how we love this girl!

We had a family dinner tonight, and Jovie decided to show off some more of her hula skills.

Yes, those are two hula hoops, and Yes, that is Indiana Jones on the TV (now you're going to have that theme song stuck in your head all.night.long. Da Da Da Daaaaaa Da Da Da)


Then Jovie took it a step further, and tried to teach Grandma and Grandpa how to do the hula.I'm not sure that they'll be winning any contests soon, but they sure are good sports for trying! We love you Nana and Papa!

Easter Eggs....or Spring Spheres?

Dear Carter,
I read somewhere that somebody had the brilliant idea to change the name of Easter eggs to Spring Spheres. That's a major fail in my book, but to each his own I guess.

Today we colored Easter eggs. This is Jovie's favorite part of Easter, and she took it very seriously. She was especially excited since Daddy bought her a fancy coloring kit complete with foil, glitter, and beads. Here she is toward the end. Yes, those are tearstained cheeks....she accidentally dropped an egg she made for you, and it broke. Don't worry baby boy, we were able to salvage it. Brutus somehow joined in on the fun. Oh, that doggy!

Mikey was much more of a color the eggs as quickly as possible, and call it good kind of kid.


Oh my, she is growing up too fast!





I started to remember that we actually got to spend two Easters with you. One of them was while you were in the NICU, and the other was at home but you were sick and miserable. This picture just seems to be missing someone.....you!

I had quite a few pangs of sadness tonight...especially when I got Mikey and Jovie's Easter baskets out of storage. I realized that there really wasn't much need to get yours out too. I am thankful that we got to celebrate this wonderful holiday with you, and have so much faith that you are enjoying a much bigger celebration up there in Heaven.

April 22, 2011

Mother Mary

Dear Carter,

Today is Good Friday, and there is something that has been heavy on my heart all day.

As much as this day is so obviously completely about Jesus and how this was the beginning of our salvation, I can't help but imagine what things must have been like for Mary as she watched her son suffer.

It sucks to say that I can relate. I hate that I can relate, but I think that in a small way I can.

I can't help but question what must have been going through her mind...


Did she know even at the moment of his birth that this day would be coming?


In the beginning of His Passion, did she pray to God that he would just take Jesus right off of that cross and let him live...that she might hug him one more time?

But as time went on, and he cried out in pain, did she pray...and beg...and plead for God to take her son just to end his suffering?

And as he took his last breath, did she praise God?

Obviously I don't know what went through her mind on the day of Jesus' death, but I know that as a mother who has lost a son...I went through all of these emotions.

I knew that I would most likely have to face the day when I would bury you. I pleaded with God to let you live so I could spend more time with you. But then as I watched you struggle to breathe, I begged God to take you to end your suffering. And as you took your last breath, I praised God and thanked Him for healing my baby.

So, these are the types of things that have been on my mind today...because...well, that's just the way that my crazy mind works. This has been the kind of day when it feels good to just sit and contemplate these things. To be thankful to God for a day like Good Friday, and to anticipate the resurrection of Jesus.

April 21, 2011

Where Did It End?

Dear Carter,

Well, I think that your blog is finally looking the way I wanted it to. There are a few more changes I'd like to make, but none of those will do us any good if I don't post more often.

I'm trying to remember where I left off on my alphabet challenge. I think that it's time for the letter "O"...if not, well then...that's too bad because that's where I'm starting again.

O is for One.

One.
It seems like a simple word, but to me it holds so much meaning.
One.

This word that symbolizes so many things in your short little life. More than I know I can think to list right now.

You only had one birthday.
We only got one of each holiday with you at home.
You were only one year old.
There were so many things that we only got to do one time together.
In one moment you were here, and in the next you were in Heaven.

I now have one child in Heaven.

I can't go one second without missing you with all of my heart.


One. It just doesn't seem like enough. I wanted one hundred of those moments,
but I only got one.
And really, honestly, I'm thankful for those "ones", but I really REALLY wish that we would have had one hundred of them.

Love you and miss you baby boy.

Dear Carter

I'm still here, and working away on your blog. What do you guys think so far? I have a few more changes to make, but otherwise I think that it's turning out nicely.

There really isn't much going on around here right now. Just gearing up for our new favorite holiday, Easter, and starting to get anxious for the Summer to come along with it's bright sunshine.

As I promised, I do have some new posts coming up. It's just taking me a little longer than I expected to get the blog the way I want it to look. MAYBE by tonight I'll have it looking all nice and spiffy.

I love you Bubba J. I hope that you like the Easter decorations we put out on your grave.

April 19, 2011

Changes

Dear Carter,
I'm working on a few changes on the blog, so please excuse the mess around here. I should have it all fixed up by tomorrow afternoon. I like to freshen it up a bit every now and then. I'm working on a couple of new posts too, so expect a lot of updates in the next week. I'm so sorry that I've been neglecting your blog. I promise I'm getting it all back on track now. I love you my little sweetie pie. Praying I might dream of you tonight!

April 12, 2011

The Rest

Dear Carter, On our second day at Disneyland, we pretty much followed the same schedule. Got up early, went to the park as it opened, left in the afternoon, and returned to California Adventure that night. One of the highlights of the day was getting your brother and sister their mouse ear hats. They also snagged their own autograph books so we could get signatures from the characters. Mikey's favorite character is Pluto, and we found him right away. Mikey started to get very brave on this day, and rode a few rides that he was a little nervous about the day before. It was so cute to see his excitement grow as he tried new things. As the day went on, I started thinking about how much I would like to get some mouse ear hats with your name on them because I really felt like you were with us on this trip. Daddy took care of that the next morning, and I wore them proudly all day long! On our final morning in Disneyland, Jovie and I spent a lot of time in line to meet Tinkerbell which Jovie says was worth it. Mikey and Daddy tackled some of the larger roller coasters which Mikey deemed "awesome!" We spent the rest of the day in search of characters, and taking advantage of some photo opportunities. We came home on Friday to a bunch of snow on the ground. What a weather shock!

April 10, 2011

First Day

Dear Carter, The day after we arrived in California, we started our trip to Disneyland. Daddy is the only one who has ever been there before, so it was a first for the rest of us. I must say that I was quite impressed! It really is like a whole other world, and I can see why they call it "The Happiest Place On Earth". We got there early, and immediately got on a bunch of rides because the lines were short. We started out with a few in Fantasyland that we thought Jovie might like, but they ended up being a little scary for her...the name Snow White's Scary Adventure probably should have given us a clue, but sometimes we don't catch on to things like that. Once she took a ride on Dumbo, she was all about the Disneyland life. Next we went on A Small World where we spotted a TON of butterflies like this one... We spent the rest of the morning on rides and just soaking the whole place in. We left the park in the afternoon because it started getting very busy. Your brother and sister wanted to try out the hotel pool, but they got chilly really fast. After a quick dinner we decided to check out California Adventure. We rode on the Toy Story ride and a few others. We also checked out A Bug's Land which is probably the part of that park which impressed me the most. It was simply adorable! Afterward we walked back to the hotel where we could see the Disneyland fireworks, and went right to sleep. It was quite a day! I must say that on that day I honestly felt like you were right there with us. There wasn't much sadness for me at all...especially when Jovie told me that Heaven was a lot better than Disneyland because you get to have fun all the time. Seriously, where does she come up with this stuff?

April 9, 2011

Waves

Dear Carter,


Oh my goodness, so much has happened since I last wrote...I don't even really know where to start. I guess that first of all, I had a hard time with missing you after your birthday. It was completely expected which was part of the reason why we scheduled our vacation for this week. I'm so glad that we did because the vacation ended up feeling healing to me...not quite like the feeling that our trips to Montana gives me, but certainly close.

Before we left on Monday, we went to church on Sunday, and I was really proud to see your brother following along and singing the songs. He's never really shown much interest in actually participating in church, so it was awesome to see his Faith growing. He has been talking a lot about God, Jesus, and the Bible in general. In fact, while we were in our hotel this week we looked out the window to see the rainbow above. The ironic thing was that we had just finished watching the news about some flooding, so when Mikey saw the rainbow he yelled "see, that's God's promise that he won't flood us again". I must admit that I felt my heart swell with pride at that comment, and it swelled even more when Jovie yelled "Hi Carter!" to the rainbow. That was only one of the moments when I felt you were really with us on this trip.
We left on Monday afternoon, and after arriving in California and getting checked into our hotel, we took a trip out to Huntington Beach. I LOVE the beach...like REALLY LOVE the beach. If I lived close to the beach, I'm sure that I'd be there every single day. While we were there, we noticed this butterfly kite. Your brother and sister loved the beach too. Jovie collected a ton of sea shells. She could have probably filled up my entire backpack if I would have let her. Mikey and Daddy played in the water which was a lot of fun for your brother until he felt the chilly wind hit him.


Afterward we walked along the pier and ate lunch at the restaurant on the end of it. We even got to watch the sun set over the ocean. It was another one of those moments when I wondered what Heaven must be like for you since there are places on this Earth which are so awe inspiring.

April 1, 2011

My Speech

Dear Carter,
So, I'll admit that this is WAY out of my comfort zone BUT I've been asked by a lot of people to share a video of the speech I gave during the Operation Smile 5K and 1 mile walk. I had so much more that I wanted to say, but the nerves just got the best of me! So, here it is!

We would like to thank Rusty at Sidewinder Media for filming this for us.