September 29, 2011

Better....Really? Yes!

Dear Carter,

I have a bit of a confession to make, and I've got to be completely honest...

lately I have been feeling like a great big giant failure.

There are some things that have happened recently which have made me come to realize that I have been slacking a bit in life. I haven't been a very good blogger which is not acceptable because this really is my only form of journaling...I haven't been keeping in touch with some of my friends which is just sad because they are important to me...I haven't kept promises that I have made...I haven't even been going to church which is completely terrible because it affects my relationship with God.

I can try to sit here and say that it's all because I miss you so much, but honestly that is just no excuse. God has given me this life as a gift, and I need to live it, and enjoy it, and make the most of it even with my broken heart. I have to "Keep On Keepin On" for your brother and sister and daddy. They deserve so much better, and I am telling you that I am promising to be better.

I want to be a better wife, a better mommy, and a better "Carter's Mommy". I want to be a better daughter, granddaughter, and friend.

I need to be a better child of God.

So, this is my proclamation of sorts that I AM going to do better. Because you are worth it my sweet boy, and I love you so very much.

September 27, 2011

Hope Again

Dear Carter,
Lately I have had quite a hard time with missing you. Even though I know...I KNOW that we did the absolute right thing in letting you go to Heaven, it's still hard to not feel that it would be so much better for us if you were here with us right now. You going to Heaven was the absolute best thing for you, but it has to be the absolute worst thing here. I praise God for giving us the strength to make that decision, and now I am praying to him to make me feel the peace with it again. I was there before, and I know it will come again...I just have to be patient.

We have several plants from your funeral, and I'll be the first to admit that I'm not very good with houseplants. Several of the plants haven't quite made it over the last 17 months (really, is that how long it's been since I held you last?!), but there are still five or six that are doing well. I was sad that none of my Peace Lillies had bloomed since the original blooms had died. I have been trying my hardest to nurture these babies because I really REALLY just wanted to see them bloom again. I've done research....moved them to different parts of the house...done growth dances (ok, maybe not that part), but I feel like I've done everything I can to get these plants to bloom with no avail.

I was absolutely thrilled (and I mean it!!) when I noticed this on one of your plants yesterday. I swear it seems like it came out of no where! I didn't even see it coming! It just put everything into perspective for me again. When we started out this journey of losing you, I really did have a lot of hope and peace which could easily be symbolized by the bloom, but over time those started to die away flower by flower. Maybe God and I are working hard to try to nurture my peace back to health. Maybe we are trying to look at things from different angles and doing growth dances (ha ha, yeah I really put that in there again), and just hoping for some spark to appear again. Maybe in time it will, and maybe it already has...I just haven't quite noticed it yet.

This was something that I really needed...a gentle reminder that I really can have hope and peace again.

September 23, 2011

The Day Rudolph Attacked

Dear Carter,

I went to another DoTerra Party tonight...I really am liking the essential oils and wish that they were around while you were here because I believe they could have made you a bit more comfortable, but that's a whole other post.

Anyway, toward the end of the party, I got a phone call from your Daddy. He normally texts me when I'm at something like this, so I knew that something must be wrong. I slipped out and answered my phone. Here's how the conversation went...

Daddy: "where are the tweezers?"

I immediately go through all of the possible reasons why he might need tweezers, but I would have NEVER guessed it.

Me: "on the right side drawer of the bathroom vanity (immediately follows the big question)...why?!"

Daddy: "Mikey has a tiny bell stuck in his ear"

Me: "What?!" believing that I had to have heard him wrong

Daddy: "Mikey has Rudolph's bell in his ear...I think he might have to go to the emergency room"

Me: "I'm on my way"

Grandma and I left right away (we were only about a mile away), all the while wondering if DoTerra actually sells an oil for "ringing in the ears". When we were about halfway home, Daddy called me back to say that he got the bell out.

So, here's the story.

Mikey was in your room watching TV when he noticed that a tiny bell (really, it was SO tiny) had fallen off of a Rudolph decoration that we had for your tree. He took it into the living room to show Daddy, and Daddy told him to put it on the counter. Well, I'm not exactly sure what happened here, but Mikey's story goes that he was just "trying" to listen to the bell, and he dropped it in his ear at which point he panicked and tried for the next ten minutes to get it out (while probably making it even worse) until he finally resigned and asked Daddy for help.

It was shoved in so far that Daddy could only see the very tip of it where the string had been holding it to Rudolph.

Daddy got it out using a dental pick (did you just cringe, because I did). Crisis averted. No trip to the Emergency Room needed.

But your poor, poor brother. When he got on the phone with me to tell me he was OK, he just burst into tears. THEN he greeted me with a big hug and a much needed cuddle. Daddy saved the day, but Mommy got to reap the benefits.

And it's possible that after this entire traumatic experience, he's sleeping peacefully next to me right now.

And I don't mind one bit.

Never, EVER a dull moment.

September 18, 2011

Oh How I Love

Dear Carter,

Whenever I see this picture, I think of it as you checking out your Fantasy Football team. Ha! Really, you were watching a little movie, but still the Fantasy Football reference doesn't seem like too much of a stretch in this family.

Oh how I love this time of year. It helps me so much with the missing you. Your Daddy and I have always had a bit of an obsession with football, and now we can see it starting to rub off on your brother a little...although football hasn't surpassed the video games in his world, but we're making progress.

For the last two weekends, we've spent most of our time at home watching football, eating yummy food, and just being together. Today our friend, Mike, even came over to watch a little bit with us and it was a blast! Just like how it used to be when Daddy and I first got married. I'm thankful that the season started when it did, and that it's been a good distraction for us.

I was wanting to get your Carter's Hope website up and running for tomorrow, but it's still not going to be ready. I've had some major issues with setting up the hosting and such and it looks like they're finally fixed, but they won't take affect for up to 48 hours. I'm anxious to get this baby rolling, so I'm hoping that this is the last snag I run into.

I love you so much sweetie pie!

September 16, 2011

It's Coming!

Dear Carter,

I'm beyond excited! I ran into a little snag while I was getting the Carter's Hope website up and running, and it's finally ready to go! Wahoo! Baby boy, you're about to make another huge difference in the world! I love you so much, and am looking forward to see where this leads. I'm hopeful that we will find new ways to offer support to special needs parents out there!

The website is going to kick off on Monday, and after it gets going, we'll be doing a few giveaways to help us spread the word. It's going to be fun!! To all of the special needs parents out there, we would love Love LOVE it if you would share your stories on the website, or offer any other ways that you think we could help. Please feel free to email me!

We have a bunch of other stuff going on too! Your second annual Operation Smile auction is happening at the beginning of October. If any of our readers have handmade items to donate, we would love to hear from you! There will be more info on the auction coming later this week.

Things around here have been quite busy. Daddy has been working a lot just trying to get himself used to his new area. He's getting the hang of it!

Jovie is just loving Kindergarten. She hurries home to do her homework, and usually finishes it all on the very first night. The Beefcake got into a little trouble this week when he literally ate her homework. Luckily, her teacher was very understanding.

Mikey is just plain growing up. It kills me the way he walks around with his hands in his pockets like he's a grown man. Second grade has been fun for him so far, and he's loving having so many friends in his class.

I've been doing a lot of "Mommy" stuff lately. For some reason I've been on an organization/meal planning kick. It's out of my typical realm, but it feels good to get some of these projects done. It just makes me feel good. I feel like it's a good use of my time.

I've been missing you a lot lately, but it's not hurting as much for right now. Probably because I've been so busy working on your tree and your website. I've been visiting your grave a lot more, and keeping it cleaned up and decorated. Look for some new Fall decorations coming this week!

September 12, 2011

It's That Time Again!

Dear Carter,

It's that time of year again when I've started getting to work on your Christmas tree. In most ways it feels like we just barely did this yesterday! I printed off our donation letters today, and plan to hit up the local businesses this week. I already made a stop at one shop today and am crossing my fingers that they say Yes!

Daddy and I have some serious plans for the little tree of yours. I think that it's going to turn out just simply adorable! I can't wait to get our second year under our belt! What's even more exciting to me is that your brother and sister are going to be creating their own tree for you this year. It's going to be a small tabletop tree so that they can decorate it themselves before we take it down for decorating day.

To Our Readers,

I've been getting a lot of questions about ways that people can help. I'm going to list a few ways, but please PLEASE don't feel pressured to do any of them. We appreciate just your positive thoughts and prayers, and I mean it!

The first way is to just attend the Festival Of Trees. This is actually how the charity makes the bulk of their money. It's an amazing sight to see, and completely worth it!

The second way would be to send an ornament for Carter's tree. We had a TON of donations last year which resulted in a tree truly made with love! I have gotten a lot of responses that people really enjoyed searching for the perfect ornaments, so if you would like to help...please send me an email to teamcarterjay at gmail dot com so we can work something out. We could use ornaments/figurines in the theme of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, and Butterflies (for Mikey and Jovie's tree).

The third way would be a cash donation through our ChipIn page. Now, I KNOW that some people don't feel comfortable doing this, and I don't blame you one bit! I'm only putting it here for convenience for the people who have asked how to make a cash donation. All cash donations will be used to purchase things such as lights, ornaments, and supplies for our little tree. Here's the link, and I'll be placing it on my sidebar as well.

Thank you so much for all of your kind words and support. It's true that I've had a rough couple of weeks, but I do think I'm finally on the end of it. It's time to get to work for my baby boy!

September 11, 2011

What Is Wrong With ME?

Dear Carter,

While we were at the car wash, it somehow became my job to entertain the people while they were getting their cars washed. It's not like I whipped out my juggling act or something, but I just made conversation. Trust me when I say that me juggling would probably be quite entertaining, but it wouldn't be because I was good at it!

A lot of the people who came to the car wash were friends of ours, but there were certainly quite a few people who stopped by due to the awesome job by our advertising crew! There was one family who had their car washed because they saw the words "chromosomal disorder" on our shirts. They had a little boy (who was simply adorable!) with Down syndrome. As I was chatting with the mom, she asked me what your diagnosis was.

I was absolutely stunned when for a few moments, I honestly could.not.remember.

I searched my brain for the correct numbers from the chromosomes that were a little different, but they didn't come to me. In fact, as I was stumbling over my words...I even threw out the number 13 before it hit me that it was your numbers 10 and 2 that made you so special.

All night long I felt absolutely horrible about it. I mean, how in the world could I forget something so SO important?? How could I not spout off that information like I used to?? Not only did it make me feel horrible, but it panicked me. If I can't remember something as important as that, then what else am I forgetting?! I hope and pray that there isn't something else.

After thinking about this for a few more days, I am feeling a bit better about it. I mean, does it really matter what your diagnosis was? What should matter is that you were loved so very much by your family...that you continue to change the world...that YOU won't be forgotten even if the smaller details are.

I don't want to forget the smaller details, and trust me when I say that I'll be reading through the blog and doing my best to remember everything that I can about you. I don't want to feel that panicky feeling again.

I love you so much my sweet baby boy, and I'm proud to say that you are my son.

September 9, 2011

Oh My Goodness!

Dear Carter,
Your cousin, Samantha, is one amazing girl! She put together a car wash for you today, and it was nothing less than AWESOME! Check it out baby's even advertised on the Sonic sign!!

The manager even put a jug out to collect donations, and it already had some money in it when we started. Amazing!

Even your brother, sister, and cousin Justin got in on the helping. Tonight I couldn't be prouder of them. Both your brother and sister are coming down with a cold, but that didn't stop them from participating. They worked so SO SO hard tonight. They were washing cars like crazy, and holding up signs for the people going by. My heart is swollen with pride. They sure do love you, and are learning what it means to do these types of events for you. I love it!

I feel badly that I didn't get more pictures, but I put it away early when it almost got wet a couple of times. Trust me when I say that this car was was BUSY. There was a line a couple of times, and we had to shuffle around cars to fit them all in there.

By the end of tonight, your sister was soaked. She scrubbed those cars like nobody's business. Poor little girl is already crashed in her bed under two blankets (so is your brother!). I hope they feel better tomorrow.

Your brother being silly!

This was at the very beginning when we were waiting for cars to start rolling in...this was the only time when we were standing around.

Never trust this boy with the hose. He looks good doing it though!

After it was all said and done, your cousin raised $251 for your Christmas tree. That doesn't even include the Sonic coupon cards that she has sold so far.

Thank you so SO much to all of the members of Team Carter who came out to support us. Thank you to Sonic, and their manager Jaime, for allowing us to do this. We hope that we can continue to work together. I am in awe at how well they treated us, and how many people paid more than the $5 we were asking for our charity. Tonight my heart is full.

Love you baby boy.
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September 8, 2011

Dirty Cars!

If you need your car washed, stop on by Sonic in Clinton TOMORROW between 5 and 7. All proceeds benefit Samantha's Team Carter donation to The Festival Of Trees.

Even if you don't need your car washed, just stop by to say Hi!

Also remember that Samantha is selling Sonic Coupon cards that should work nationwide for $5 each. If you're interested in one of those, send me an email and I'll ship it out to you.

We love you!

September 7, 2011


Dear Readers,

I've been working like crazy on the little Christmas tree over the last couple of days. Mostly just contacting businesses to see if they are willing to donate. I haven't heard a "Yes!" yet, but I haven't really expected to from the businesses I've contacted so far.

I can't remember if I've announced the theme for our tree yet, so I thought that today I'd make the big announcement. We've been planning this since last year, and are excited by the possibilities this project could bring.

So, announcing the Team Carter tree of 2011...

"We Are All Misfits"

I've had a lot of people asking how they can help, and I'll be posting a list of things we need very soon. I also welcome ANY and ALL ideas on this tree. I've got a few swirling in my head, and can't wait to see it all come together. I have had so much feedback from everyone last year that they enjoyed donating a piece of our tree, so of course we will keep up with the effort.

Thank you so much for your support. Sending many prayers and love.

September 6, 2011

Oh Beefy

Dear Carter,
Poor little Beefy had to have a surgery last week. He went in to have a hernia repaired,'m sure you can figure out what else. The vet told us to keep him calm for 3-5 days since he would have a lot of pain from the hernia repair, but beyond the first night he seemed absolutely fine. We tried our best to keep him calm, but by the next morning he was back to his crazy self. It's a good thing too because nobody in our family was happy while he was sick. Gotta love our puppy!!

Your brother and sister have been enjoying school. Jovie absolutely loves being in Kindergarten, and is thrilled whenever she gets to see her big brother at school. I have been volunteering in their classrooms a lot which I really like because I get to know their classmates. I think they are both going to have really good years.

I also wanted to let our readers know that this Friday is the Car Wash that Samantha has set up to benefit the tree she is donating for Carter. If anyone is interested in contributing, it will be at Sonic Drive In in Clinton from 5:00-7:00. She is also selling Sonic coupon cards which should be valid nationwide for $5 each. If you are interested, please send me an email and we'll work something out. I can ship it to you! As always, thank you so much for your love and support.

September 5, 2011

The Good Cry

Dear Carter,
Yesterday, I had a rough morning. I kept going through those last few days with you in my head, and wishing that we could just go back to the times like these. I could feel those emotions building for a few days now, so it wasn't all that shocking to me when I just broke down and had a good cry.

It all stemmed from a dream I had of you the other night. I've been begging and BEGGING to dream of you, and now that I finally did, it wasn't in the way I had hoped. It was all about you being in the hospital...about those last few days. I felt myself getting on one of those waves of trying to figure out how in the heck I am supposed to survive in this world without you.

The good cry did a lot of good. I feel like that wave is over for now, and I feel refreshed and ready to go to work for you. I just want you to know how much I love you and miss you.

September 4, 2011

Oh Yes I Did!!

Dear Carter,
Last weekend, our family decided to take a quick trip outta here, and it was excellent! It's amazing to me how just going an hour away can feel like a REAL vacation. We started out by driving through East Canyon to get to Park City. We wanted to check out some of the campgrounds up there, and it was such a pretty drive! After we checked into our hotel, we got some dinner, attempted to go bowling (the lane had too long of a wait), swam in the hotel pool, and enjoyed some Uno.
The next day, we woke up and took a trip up to Olympic Park. I can't believe that I'd never been there before. What a cool place!! The kids weren't quite as thrilled with it as your Daddy and I were, but they still had a good time. What do you think? Future Bobsled team? We just need a Team Carter logo on the side of that bad boy!

She is the next Olympian FOR SURE!

Mikey insisted on letting the buffalo run him over

This was one of the coolest parts (for Mommy and Daddy at least!) there were skiers going down these ramps and landing in a huge pool in the bottom. We could have stayed and watched them for hours, but Mikey and Jovie had other plans
We checked out these ski jumps too. Who knew that in the Summer they just wet these down, and away the skiers go. I had no idea!

Next, we took a ride up a ski lift to get to an Alpine Slide. So pretty, and we saw a ton of butterflies on the way!

Daddy and Mikey getting started on the Alpine Slide. This track was over a mile long!

Daddy bought a ticket for me to try out the zipline. I've NEVER done one before, but kind of wanted to try it. Here's Mikey and Jovie waiting for me to come down the big ole' mountain.

And there I am! Trust me, I look a LOT more relaxed than I felt. I started way up there on that ridge. Oh my gosh, what a rush!!

After our trip to Olympic Park, we headed to the Outlet malls for a bit of shopping, then on to our next stop in West Valley. This hotel has a waterpark inside of it. Your brother and sister thought that this was by far the highlight of the entire trip.

Mikey LOVED the waterslide. It actually went outside of the building. He was so cute, and kept trying to do tricks when he would come down it. At one point he looked like he was meditating...he called it his Master Shifu. Love this kid!

It was a nice refreshing weekend. We need to do it more often!
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September 3, 2011

Into The Waves

The Next Article for Daddy's Newsletter
Earlier this year, our family took a little vacation to sunny California. We had purposely planned it to be right after Carter’s birthday so to have a little pick-me-up. As we were planning, it seemed odd to imagine a family vacation without one of our most important members. It really hit me that we would never be able to go on a vacation as a complete family, but this was just one of those things that we would have to learn to get used to.

Soon after we arrived, we took a drive out to Huntington Beach. What a beautiful place it is. Our children had never seen the wide ocean, so to see the wonder in their eyes was simply inspiring. At first, Mikey was tentative about walking into the water. He would only stick the very tips of his toes into the edge of the waves and I could see the fear in his stance. After a little encouragement, he built up enough courage to let the water surround his feet. I watched as he played with the sand between his toes, and felt a sadness that Carter would never be able to experience that feeling of the soft mud against his skin. I watched as Mikey’s steps became more purposeful, and soon he was knee deep in the water. The current was anything but calm that day, and at times the waves were big enough to soak his shorts. He stood strong against the current and let the waves crash into him. Mikey wasn’t going to let them deter him from enjoying this moment. Although at times the chill of the water would cause him to shout out in pain, a giggle was soon to follow. He felt the initial shock, and as soon as it began to wear he could feel the joy that followed.

As I watched my son play in the water, I began to think a lot about Carter. I drew his name in the sand, and thought about how I was tentative in the beginning of his life too. The world of special needs seemed so wide and scary, but once I dipped my toe into the edge I began to find my courage. Soon I was walking further into this different life, and I began to let it surround me. I felt the initial shock leaving my skin, and the comfort started to creep in. I began to accept that this was how things would be, and I realized that although it may have seemed cold in the beginning, it really was a warm place. This place felt right to me now, and I began to experience the joy that came with it. It seemed as though there were always waves crashing into our family, and we had to make a decision to drown or stand strong. Of course we stood strong. As long as we had Carter, those waves could crash into us forever and we would enjoy every single moment. I wish that we could have stayed in that place forever.

Now that we’ve left that place, I feel as though we are still waiting for the shock of this place to wear off. I have dipped my toes into the edge, and I have started walking into it head on. I can always feel the waves crashing into me, and I am choosing to stand strong because I’m hopeful that one day we will be able to feel the joy that follows. It’s just a little too soon for that now.

September 1, 2011

The Golden Girls

Dear Carter,
I'm really trying to keep your blog updated again, and tonight this thought came to me so I thought that I'd better just run with matter how crazy it may seem!

I know that I'm going to get teased non-stop for this, but I still have to put it out there.

I LOVE The Golden Girls!!I know, I know, I know. Such a random thought to be putting on your blog, but I just have to say it. I LOVE The Golden Girls. Each and every one of them because they all bring something different to the table (so to speak!...if you've ever watched the show, you get that pun).

The thing about this show is that I don't even have to DVR is just always ALWAYS on in the middle of the night when I can't sleep because I'm thinking about you, or waking up because I'm still somehow on your schedule after all this time.

This show makes me laugh so hard, and for just a few moments while I'm watching it, I can forget about how much I miss you as I go on a journey with these ladies through whatever silly problem they are working through in their half hour. At the end of the half hour, they find their solution, make a few jokes about it, eat a cheesecake, and everyone is happy.

Last night as the episode was ending, I thought to myself...why can't real life be like this?

That's when it hit me.

Maybe, just maybe it is?

Maybe life on this Earth is like that half hour show. Although it is much MUCH longer than a half hour, maybe in the grand scheme of things it really isn't.

I've always believed that this part of my life where I miss you like crazy is only one tiny moment in time. That I will be with you for much MUCH longer than I will be without you.

So, maybe we go around trying to work through our problems, trying to heal our broken hearts, but in the end when our show is over, we will make a few jokes, eat a cheesecake, and everyone will be happy.

Sounds nice to me.

P.S. Now the theme song is running through my head again. "Thank you for being a friend..."