August 31, 2011

His Big Day!

Dear Carter,
Your brother turned the big 8 on August 21st. We had his birthday party on the Saturday before since he had to start school the very next day. This year he requested a Lego party which meant that Mommy had to get a little creative with the pinata and the cake!






Both of them turned out pretty awesome if you ask me! He's finally getting the hang of building Legos by using the instructions that come in the kits, so he requested Legos and Star Wars stuff for his birthday.

And he got a ton of it! The kid didn't get one stitch of clothing, it was all toys! Well, toys and an adorable Pug notebook which he has been practicing his writing in (this kid cracks me up!)

Happy Birthday to my little eight year old. I begged and begged and begged you to stay seven, but you wouldn't listen.

This is going to be a big year for Mikey! I can't wait to see where it leads!
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August 30, 2011

August 29, 2011

The First Day

Dear Carter,

Last Monday was Mikey's first day of school. It went well, and I didn't even get sad. In fact, I might have found myself smiling a little at my friends who were tearing up over seeing their first graders off to school. I remember last year, and how hard it was to see Mikey go for an entire day. This year was so much different. I still had my little Jovie with me, and was used to Mikey being gone all day.



Today was Jovie's first day, and the feelings couldn't have been more different.
It was hard.




I got her up, got her ready (and she looked absolutely beautiful, right?!), and was feeling alright about everything. In fact, I was looking forward to a little bit of alone time. Maybe I'll get a lot more done on all of the projects I have going on right now. I took a deep breath, and stepped out the door.

Still doing OK.


I drove them to school, and walked her to the line where she waits for her teacher.
Still doing OK.

Then I watch her walk into that huge building, and as I look around at all of the parents surrounding me who have their babies in strollers it hits me.

I am completely alone.

I am the only one who is not taking care of a little one.
The only one not pushing a stroller.
The only one with empty arms.

This is NOT how it's supposed to be. I'm supposed to be pushing you in a stroller back to the car. I'm supposed to take care of you, and although I know that this is not how it was meant to be, I still feel like it was a kick in the gut again.

I took that long walk back to the car, and tried to keep busy until it was time to pick your sister up...and the time really did go by quickly. She had a wonderful day. It was everything she could have hoped for. The highlight was when she got to play with Mikey on the playground, and he loved that part too.

Tomorrow will be a better day, and I WILL get used to this part.
I love you.

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August 28, 2011

Wild Kingdom

Dear Carter,

We kicked off Mikey's birthday weekend with a quick trip to the zoo. We got our season pass a couple of trips ago, but Daddy hadn't had a chance to come with us until this time. It was a nice day out, and your brother and sister loved hanging out as a family. I think it was this day out that made us realize just how much we have missed being together this Summer, and as a result we went on a mini-vacation this weekend (pics to come!).


I actually have a picture of your brother on this very same caterpillar that was taken when he was only one year old! I need to pull it out for a comparison. Actually, maybe I don't because it just might make me sad to see how much he's grown. Time flies!





This Giraffe was crazy! That is his tongue that is hanging down to lick that tree. Jovie giggled and giggled and giggled every time he did it.

It was an excellent day, and I'm so glad that we got some family time in before school started.
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August 24, 2011

CAR WASH!


Dear Carter,


We have some exciting news about our next Team Carter event! Remember when I told you that you would have three trees representing you in The Festival Of Trees this year? Well, your darling cousin, Samantha, has partnered up with Sonic Drive-In to put on a Car Wash to raise funds for the tree she is making. She is calling her tree "Sweeter Than Candy" because you my baby boy are just that!

So, to all of our readers, you are invited to attend:


Samantha's Team Carter Car Wash

September 9th from 5:00-7:00

at

Sonic Drive In

1688 N 2000 W

Clinton, UT 84015



Each car wash is only $5 and all proceeds will go toward making Samantha's Team Carter tree totally awesome! The proceeds from The Festival Of Trees benefit Primary Children's Hospital where Carter spent much of his life.


Live too far away, or can't make it? No worries my friends, because Samantha is also selling Sonic coupon cards for $5 each (100% of the proceeds also go to her tree). With one of these babies you can score one of each of the following:

Buy one Sonic burger at regular price get one free

$1.99 wacky pack kids meal

$.99 regular iced latte

Buy one footlong quarter pound coney at regular price get one free

Buy one single topping sundae get one free

$.99 breakfast burrito

$.99 route 44 big drink soft drink

Free medium onion rings with any sandwich purchase.

Please feel free to spread this event around on Facebook or by telling every SINGLE person you know! LOL. The more money we can raise for Carter's tree, the more money will go to Primary Children's. Love you all!


August 23, 2011

Beefcake : The Movie!

Dear Carter,

Your brother has been working on a project for the entire Summer, and we are so proud to say that it's finally finished! He did all of the filming by himself, and had several ideas on which way he wanted this to go. Since he obviously hasn't ever used any video editing software before, I had to help him in that department, but I promise that I only did what he asked me to. Mikey told me a long time ago that he wanted to be a director when he grows up, and I think that it just might be likely! He's got quite the imagination, and I think a natural knack for this. So, here it is. Beefcake: The Movie. He's already working on the sequel!

P.S. Yes, he does say "Behind Mars". That's how he thought the saying went, and I didn't want to correct him because it was so adorable ;)


August 22, 2011

Here We Go!

Dear Carter,

I'm going to do a huge picture update later, but wanted to tell you all about our day today.

Your big brother started his very first day of second grade. The emotions were much different for me this year because I think I am used to him staying at school all day. Last year I remember it being very hard on me. I think that a lot of it has to do with knowing that I'll probably be at the school a lot helping out with PTA stuff.

It sounds as though he had a wonderful day. He has a LOT of friends in class with him, and he also has a brand new teacher who seems very eager to make this year fun for her students. Mikey even gets to be the very first "Surfer of the Week" since his birthday was only yesterday. I love it when he has to make the "About Me" posters because I get to see what he really thinks about himself.

Your sister will start Kindergarten next Monday. That's probably when I'll find myself getting more sentimental and sad. I just have to keep reminding myself that there is absolutely nothing I can do about them growing up, so why be sad about it? This is what they are supposed to do, and I really am proud of them for it! Today she and I went clothes shopping, and I tried to let her pick out her own clothes. For the most part she did a wonderful job, but there were a few times that I had to gently guide her toward another selection. One of our biggest scores of the day were not one, but TWO adorable Peacock shirts. She is going to look BEAUTIFUL this year. We had a blast having a girl's day out, and I hope that even when she is a teenager we will still have a good relationship. Your grandma and I struggled during that time in our lives.

I love you so much baby boy, and have really struggled with missing you during the last week. I know that it's because of all of the milestones that we have been hitting with starting school and Mikey's birthday. I just always ALWAYS feel like there is something missing, and that something (or rather someone) is definitely you! I am sure that it is a feeling that will always be here, and I really am adjusting to having it often, but it still hurts sometimes. I was thrilled when as we were walking to the doors of the school today, I saw a little butterfly leading the way. It was a gentle reminder that although you aren't here...you really are. I do know this, and I continue to remind myself of this, but as always it doesn't feel like quite enough.

I am looking forward to getting some serious work done on Carter's Hope and also on your Festival Of Trees donation during this week. It always helps me so much with the missing you.

We love you. Always and forever Bubba Jay!

August 21, 2011

Mikey's Day



Dear Mikey,


Happy Birthday to you my sweet boy! I can't believe that eight years ago today we welcomed you into our world. I remember how nervous I was to be your Mommy because you were so SO adorable and I didn't want to mess you up! You were a true joy for us. You were the CUTEST baby and you were SO FUN. Daddy and I were just learning what it means to be a parent, and we were lucky that we got you as our first teacher.

Thank you for being such a wonderful big brother to your sister and baby brother. I KNOW that Jovie feels comfortable about starting school with knowing that you are in the same building. I love how you are always thinking of Jovie and Carter. You find ways to make them feel special, and I appreciate it.

I love you more than you can know, and I'm still going to beg you to just stay seven because quite honestly I don't want you to grow up. I want you to always be OK with holding my hand, and snuggling, and hugging me, and kissing me. I know that you must grow up, and I am proud of you for it. I hope that you have an amazing year at school, and wish you luck tomorrow on your very first day of second grade!


Happy 8th Birthday!

August 14, 2011

Carter's Hope

Thank you so much for all of the comments, emails, and messages about our plea for help with our new project. You have helped us to see exactly what we need to be doing.

We are very excited to announce Team Carter’s newest project, Carter’s Hope. This is a place where we will be providing support for parents who are just learning that they will join our world of Special Needs Parenting. We want this to be a place where we can show that no matter what there is always, ALWAYS HOPE.

I hope that you will join us in spreading Carter’s Hope by sharing your story about your journey in the special needs world. As this site grows we will be adding sections full of information that may be helpful to these new parents such as advice, a comprehensive list of “special needs friendly” doctors, and information on applying for different types of assistance.

If you would like to share your story, please send me an email at cartershope@gmail.com . Feel free to share as little or as much as you feel comfortable with, and we would love it if you included a picture. Here are just a few questions to help guide you through your writing:
When did you find out that you would be a Special Needs parent and what was your child’s diagnosis?

What is your child’s diagnosis, and what kind of special needs does he/she have?

What has your journey been like?

What do you wish you would have known at the start of your journey?

What advice would you give to a new parent in the special needs world?

What kind of assistance have you received for your child, and what was the process to receive it?

Did you ever have a doctor/therapist act like there was no hope for your child, and he/she proved them wrong?

Do you have a blog that you would like us to link to? If so, please include the address and we’ll add it to our blog roll.

I look forward to getting the ball rolling on this. I will begin posting the stories on September 15th when our hosted site will be up and running. As always thank you so much your support. I appreciate how Team Carter can keep Carter's memory alive.


Love you all!

Update

Dear Carter,

There is still a lot going on around here which has left me with little time to update. Your Daddy has been out of town for a lot of the Summer which has left me in the "single parent" role. It's difficult without him here because he is the anchor of our family. We're making do the best we can, and am glad to see his travelling come to an end.

Mikey has had a fun Summer. His birthday is this weekend, and he'll be turning the big eight! Then he starts school the very next day as a big shot second grader. He is going to be starting his swimming lessons this week, and has also started tumbling (shhhhh, don't tell anyone though because he's a little embarrassed by it even though he's having a blast with it). We've decided that with how crazy our summer has been, it's best to opt out of Fall sports this year. It will be a much needed break.

Jovie is starting Kindergarten, and she couldn't be more excited. She can't wait to be at school again. We managed to get her the same Kindergarten teacher that your brother had, so it should be a good year for little J. One thing is for sure! She is completely ready to start school again because she is b-o-r-e-d. I try to keep her busy with different activities, but she's tired of me.

Since Daddy has been out of town a lot, I've borrowed a bike so I could go on rides with your brother and sister. I'm really, REALLY enjoying it, and am kind of looking forward to taking some long rides by myself once they start school. Maybe I'll even lose some of this extra fat in the process...HA!

I know that once again I have failed to keep up with your blog, but I promise it's only because I've been working on your other projects. I love you so much my sweet little guy. I still haven't had a dream about you, but that's OK. I know that when the time is right, I will.

I figure I have somehow managed to get myself on the PTA Board which is so completely out of my comfort zone, but I am going to try to do the best I can.

August 7, 2011

Special Needs & Medically Fragile Help ...Please?

Dear Special Needs Parents,

I need help. (I just wanted to be blunt lol!)

I know that we still have a lot of you that visit our blog, and I am ever so grateful for your continued support. I feel blessed that I was able to join such an amazing community, and though our little special needs guy is no longer with us on Earth...I still feel the need to continue to be a part of it.

It's because of this that I am asking for your help on Carter's newest project. I am working on starting a new website/support group/forum to find ways to support new parents on their Special Needs/Medically Fragile journey. I know that when I first found out that we had landed in "Holland", I felt quite alone with not so much hope.

I'm just wondering if you could please either email me at teamcarterjay at gmail dot com, or leave a comment with ideas on what kind of support you wish you would have had in the beginning of your journey. Or even better, maybe support that you received that you feel helped you to realize that you CAN have HOPE while living in the world of Special Needs/Medically Fragile.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you!

Much Love and Many Prayers,
Heather

August 4, 2011

Monitors

Dear Carter,

I have been working hard on your new project, and it's coming together nicely. I think that just about the time I get this one going...it will be about time to start on your tree for the Festival Of Trees. It seems like time is moving so fast these days. I don't know if that is good or bad.

As I was reading about some of your medically fragile friends today, I realized something that I haven't thought about in awhile.

There are so SO many things that I would constantly think that I would be glad to be rid of when you were here. I couldn't wait for you to be done with the oxygen....be done with the G tube...be done with the monitors. Now that you are done with those things, but not in the way that I had hoped, I find that I really miss all of your little accessories.

I miss having to wake up several times throughout the night to the beeping of your Oximeter. Usually just because you were wide awake and you were swinging your foot from side to side. I think that you thought that game was funny. The crazy thing is that even after all of this time, I still follow that same sleep schedule. I can't fall asleep until after your night feeding would have been done, and I still wake up at your medication times. I guess my body still feels the need to take care of you.

I miss having to make the weekly phone call to get new Oxygen tanks delivered to our house. I would always feel nervous that there would be some sort of huge disaster and we wouldn't be able to get you the Oxygen you needed...having full tanks made me feel a lot more comfortable.

I miss having to check your crazy calendar before I could plan anything because you had so many doctors appointments and therapies scheduled.

I miss prepping your formula and hooking up your G Tube. Even when it would beep for absolutely no reason.

I miss mixing all of your medications.

I miss checking your hearing aid battery.

I miss practicing your sitting and rolling and eye tracking and head control and weight bearing. I miss your therapists.

I miss spending time with you at the hospital. Even though it was a terrible place to be, I miss rocking you in their rocking chairs.


As I was giving Jovie her goodnight kiss tonight she said "Carter had to have eyedrops before he went to sleep...huh?". It made me happy that she remembered that simple thing, but sad that I don't get to give you eye drops anymore. I miss that.


I guess what I'm saying is, I miss every little thing about you. I miss what it meant to be your mommy while you were here even though it was hard sometimes.


No matter how much I miss those things, I feel an intense relief in knowing that you don't need any of them anymore. I am calmed in knowing that you can move around and play free from the wires and tubes and medicines.


How amazing that must feel to you. Play free baby boy!

August 1, 2011

Days Go By

Dear Carter,

I miss you a lot today.

Things have been going OK, but there have been a few trials over the past couple of weeks which have made me think to myself that they would be so SO much easier to endure if you were here with me. There are times when your Daddy and I start to think..."really God, haven't we endured enough?". Seconds later I feel guilty for thinking that way because honestly things could be a lot worse. We really are blessed, and we KNOW that. It's just easy to act like a toddler sometimes and throw a little tantrum.

Your brother and sister have been keeping me busy. We've taken a trip to the zoo, spent a lot of time at the library, and even more time just playing in our backyard. I'm not ready for the Summer to be over, so I'm trying to savor these last three weeks. Mikey agrees with me, and would love for it to be Summer all year round. Your sister is so excited to start Kindergarten that she just can't stand it. As much as I don't want her to grow up, I'm trying hard to enjoy these moments with her because I know that it's likely to be the last time that I send a little sweetie off to the first day of "real" school.

I noticed today that it might be time to change the picture of you on our fridge. I kiss it at least a couple of times a day, and I can start to see some "wear" on your cheek. I hope that you can feel my kisses and that you know how much we love and miss you....my sweet baby boy.