February 29, 2012

The Fifth Little Thing.....That Is HUGE!

I've actually known about this for about a week, but am just barely able to announce it.

I know that I have talked about my friend, Wendy, before but I'm not sure if I have mentioned her cutie pie son, Hudson.

Hudson just turned eight years old, so he's a bit younger in this pic, but those adorable eyes haven't changed much! 

The thing about Hudson is that his mommy and I have this great plan where he and Jovie will get married someday.  Who knows if that will actually happen, but for now we can enjoy looking at Peacock wedding cakes.....ok, not really because I would be just fine with Jovie staying six FOREVER.

Anyway, Wendy, Hudson, and family have recently moved to Virginia Beach which is near the headquarters for Operation Smile. In case you don't know, Operation Smile is the charity that we absolutely love, and we have done several fundraisers in memory of Carter.

One of the cool things about Wendy living in Virginia Beach is that since they ARE so close to Operation Smile, they get to participate in all kinds of cool activities.

And Hudson has decided to do one of them in memory of Carter.

Hudson will be running a marathon to benefit Operation Smile.  You heard me right, a MARATHON.  Now, obviously we wouldn't want the poor kid to get too tired, so the marathon is actually spread out a bit.  He will work on it during his recesses and lunches to get to 25.2 miles, and will do the last mile on St Patricks Day on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk.  You can read more about the event here: Operation Smile Final Mile.

He is hoping to raise enough money for at least one life-changing surgery which is only $240.  Hudson just barely posted his page, and he's already almost halfway there!   If you are interested in donating, you can click on this link, or on the picture below: Hudson's One Smile Page

Of course we will be following his progress, and we are so blessed to have people who care enough about Carter to do something like this in his memory.  Thank you so much Hudson!  We're behind you all the way!!

February 28, 2012

The Fourth Little Thing.......That I've Been Blessed With

Dear Carter,

Today I have been reminded of how much I love the blogging world, and how blessed I am to have found so much support and so many friendships through it.  It's all because of you my sweet boy, because before I never realized that the world of Special Needs blogs even existed until I was a part of it.

One of my favorite blogs has always been Junior's Amazing Journey .  Junior has a HUGE infectious smile that I just love (check it out....you'll agree!!), and his mommy, Heidi, is so upbeat and positive.  She's constantly finding new ways to adapt games and use toys to give Junior so many different opportunities at learning.  I have always admired her ability to do this.

Heidi and Junior have taken on a special project that we are excited and humbled to be a part of.  They make memory buddies for those of our special friends who have earned their wings, and they were kind enough to include you.  Here is your little tubie buddy...

Isn't he just the sweetest??  We are beyond grateful to be a part of this special project. Thank you so much Heidi and Junior.  We will cherish this little guy forever, and Mikey and Jovie can not wait to cuddle with him.

They are in need of extra tubing and supplies, so if you have any extras that you can spare, please take a moment to contact her.  She could certainly use them! 

February 27, 2012

The Third Little Thing......That Leaves Me With A Broken Heart

Dear Carter,

Today has been one of those days when your big sister just will.not.quit.pestering.me.  It is a constant whine-fest, and I have to admit that I have been at my wits end for most of the afternoon about it.

This girl is just bored and really REALLY needs to start the first grade.
As she sits here asking me questions every twenty seconds while I am trying to write this blog post, I am reminded that I really do love it....ok, so maybe I would prefer it if she would just pester me with snuggles and kisses, but honestly I do love it because SHE IS HERE WITH ME.

I found out this afternoon that an old co-worker and friend of mine is now a part of my club. 

He lost his sixteen year old son yesterday.

I am heartbroken that somebody who I care about is now on this path with me.....I feel heartbroken that anybody has to walk this path, but this just hits very close to home.  I keep on replaying conversations that we had long ago and think about how much simpler things were then...how we had no idea that we would end up here.

Maybe that's part of the beauty of life.  Good or bad, you never know what's right around the corner....although it's a very tough challenge seeing the beauty in losing a child.

And so today I will be thankful that at this very moment I can see the beauty in losing you.  I can see that it was the ultimate healing for you.  I can see that these years without you are just a very small chapter in the whole book.  I can see that we will be together again. I can see that all of these small things that are annoying me (like your sister's pestering) are really blessings because I get to spend more time with her, and I will work hard to appreciate them.

But I must pray that my friend and his family will find these same comforts.

Our prayers are with them.

February 26, 2012

The Second Little Thing...That Isn't So Little

Dear Carter,

So, I totally failed on keeping up on this. Your daddy and I decided to take a last minute trip out of town for the weekend, and when I say last minute...I mean that we woke up on Friday morning and decided to go, two hours later we were on the road! It was a much needed break, and we are ever thankful to your grandparents for always being excited to spend some time with their grandkids.

We are certainly blessed.

I have been trying to be mindful of all of the little things that I am thankful for, and today as I was washing the dishes, I took a look at my Peace Lily as I frequently do.

I think that I may have written about this before, but this plant was given to me by a group of friends who I hold very dear to my heart.  A couple of months after the plant was given to me, it lost all of it's blooms.  I've tried everything to get this thing to bloom again, and had all but given up when after eighteen months, I finally noticed one starting.

Now that it's here, I feel as though it has helped to restore some hope in me.

The thing is Carter, lately I've had a lot of "What If?" questions in my mind.  I find myself wondering if we really made the right decision....if we did what was right for YOU.  I know that we did not do the right thing for US because we would have left you laying in the hospital bed and on a ventilator FOREVER if we wanted what was right for us which is why I'm glad that He blessed us with the courage to let you go. 

But, did we give you every chance to live here on Earth before decided to turn you over to our Father?

And most of the time I know....I KNOW that we absolutely did the right thing.  I know that you would not have wanted a life like that because you were already frustrated by your limitations.

But in the mornings when I'm showering, or driving the kids to school, I feel this little doubt trickle into my mind.  The times when the questions come, are the times when the Devil is using his tricks to discourage me.

It seems that just when I am about to succumb to those thoughts of anger or remorse, I feel as though the veil lifts enough for me to see what I really should....that we DID make the right decision, and that you are truly happy that we let you go.

And it reminds me of the plant.  Just when I had given up hope on it, it started to bloom.

Hopefully, it won't lose it's blooms again for a very long time.

February 23, 2012

The One Little Thing....That Really Isn't That Little

This is something that I've been noticing a lot lately, and I am EXTREMELY grateful for it.  In fact, I feel like I couldn't be luckier.  So, here it goes...

My kids REALLY do love each other.

I know, I know, that it might sound really cheesy, but it's true!!

Yes, they fight and argue as much as they act nicely to each other, but honestly they are best friends.

I hope that it stays that way.

On Valentine's Day, your brother had a party in his classroom, and Jovie and I went in to help.  Mikey really wanted his sister to participate in the party with him, so he had her do all of the activities while he just helped.  I turned around to see this...
He even gave up his cookie for her!  They are just the sweetest together...when they are getting along!  Then, to top it off, I saw this on Jovie's easel the other day...

In case you can't tell by the one ear and Oxygen, that's Carter.   I find things like this all over the place.

So today, I am eternally grateful to our Father for giving me children who truly love each other, and are there for each other.  I'm certain that this is part of the reason that they have adjusted so well to losing their baby brother.

I am going to turn this challenge into a Blog Hop, but didn't quite get it working tonight.  It will be ready for tomorrow's post!

The 40 Little Things.....That Aren't So Little

Dear Carter and our Readers,
Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, and I had intended on writing a post about it and didn't make it to the computer....so perhaps this post should really be titled 39 Days. 
As you probably remember, last year we did an awesome project leading up to your birthday which we had called The Random Acts Of Carter.  It turned out quite fabulous, and a lot of people participated which was amazing to me. I loved every minute of it!

I still might decide to do it again, but for now I decided to work on something a little different.  I read a book last year called 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  It wasn't an easy read for me, but it was challenging in a lot of good ways.

Basically, the author describes her faith journey as she starts to appreciate even the littlest gifts that God has given us. And I really try hard to do that each and every single day, but I'm not going to lie.....it gets hard when the missing you hurts too much.

This is just a very hard season for me, and I guess that I'm looking for any ways that I can praise God instead of maybe being angry with him just that little tiny bit. (gosh, that feels awful to type out).

Sooooo, long story short I'm starting my very own challenge, and I invite anybody who would like to join to PLEASE do so.  I'd much rather not do this alone, and I would love to see if we can all be uplifted a bit by it. 

Basically, I'm going to be posting some of my favorite gifts from God....no matter how LITTLE....for the next forty days (probably 39 since I missed yesterday lol).

This isn't going to be easy, but I feel like I have to do SOMETHING more during this Lenten season.  SOMETHING that will make me realize that there is much MUCH more to be thankful to God for....including giving you your ultimate healing which lately has been hard to be happy about since I miss you oh so much.

Who knows, maybe I'll even learn something along the way??

And so, I'm asking our readers, would you like to join in our our "The 40 Little Things....That Aren't So Little" challenge?  I am going to be posting a linking widget at the end of my posts where we can all come together to read about each other's journey.  I am hoping that this will turn out to be just fabulous, and I can't wait to see where it takes us. I will make my first post about this later on tonight.

Happy Lent All!

February 21, 2012

Beautiful Girl

Dear Carter,

Well, it's official.  Your beautiful sister is now six years old!

When I ask her if she had a good birthday, she says "Yep!"

We started off by going to her very favorite restaurant, The Olive Garden, for lunch.  I think she gets that from me!

Then we came home to have her birthday party with all of our family.  She could NOT figure out what that big birthday present was, and kept on insisting that it was a black Pug.

Not yet little sweetie, not yet.  It was a dollhouse instead which she adored.

Grandma got her some roller blades which she practiced with a little bit.

Happy Birthday little Jovie Jo.  You are growing up into an amazing girl, and I'm so proud to be your mommy.

February 20, 2012


Dear Carter,

Well, it's time to get caught up again.  There has been a lot going on around here which includes some vacation planning (hooray!!), Valentines Day, and of course a girly girl turning six.  Before we could get to all of that, we had to celebrate Jovie's best buddy....Thunderbolt!   As you may have noticed, Thunderbolt celebrates her birthday party about once every three months making her the oldest pony EVER!

 But that little Jovie loves to throw her a party, so we got to baking.

So, what does a little horsey want on it's birthday??

Why, apple pie of course!  Jovie got a couple of these Baby Cakes machines instead of the Easy Bake Oven, and she absolutely LOVES them.  She can make pretzels, cupcakes, and mini pies.  So much fun!
Then after they were finished we had to complete the party with a candle and a Happy Birthday song.  Thunderbolt looked quite pleased.

 Next, we celebrated Valentine's Day.  It started off with some gorgeous roses from your Daddy.  He's such a sweetheart.   He also treated your brother and sister with some cool balloons with prizes inside.  They were thrilled!  Mikey and Jovie had Catechism that night, so while they were there, Daddy and I took a trip to the Deseret Industries, and got some Del Taco on the way home.

Yep, that's how we do Valentine's Day around here!

I sure do miss you my funny valentine.  I hope that you like the way we decorated your grave this year.  I have noticed that Mikey and Jovie have been talking about you more which is good, but it also hurts at times.  I hope you know that these types of holidays just don't feel complete without you, but we do our best to carry on.

February 11, 2012

How Far We've Come

Dear Carter,

Today has been a rough one, but not as rough as it has been for a lot of other parents out there.  It seems as though lately there have been a lot of our special little friends who are very, VERY sick, and one of them has gone to be with you in Heaven.

I found out earlier today that sweet little Caleb, who you can read about here: A Wink From Heaven , has gone to be with you.  I have followed his story for a long long time, so my heart is broken for his family.  I feel terrible that they have to walk on this journey now too.  I'm definitely lifting them up in prayer.

When I think back to the very begininning of learning to live life without you, it forces me to see how far we've come. I think that for the first couple of weeks we were in complete and utter shock.  I had zero...and I mean NOT ONE inclination that you wouldn't be coming home with us after that surgery.  I always thought that I'd somehow see something like that coming, but God caught me off guard with that one.

At first, I was just kind of numb.  After all, I was used to you having to spend time away from home while you were up at PCMC, but once the realization hit that you weren't coming home this time....it seemed as though it was more than I can handle. 

I remember that at times when the pain would dull, I would suddenly feel my internal clock go off to remind me to start one of your feedings, or to change your diaper, or to give you a medication.  I would wake up every hour like I did while you were here to check your Oximeter....and sometimes I would even think that I could hear it beep, only to see that it was no longer there.  Suddenly it felt as though the wound had been ripped wide open again.  I've moved through that, and now I only feel that way with certain triggers.  And as a side note, as I write this, I actually can hear the Oximeter beep in my head.  And I just imagined myself going through the motions of your feeding routine. Gosh, I miss that.

Now, I feel as though we have finally found our new normal.  It took time to feel comfortable in my own skin.  The only problem is that it's not the normal that I wish I could have....the one where you are here with me. 

It's a good thing that I have faith that we will be together again, otherwise this new normal would be so much harder to accept, and I pray that Caleb's family is blessed with the same faith. So many prayers being sent their way.

February 9, 2012

Little Birdies

 Dear Carter,

Valentine's Day is coming up quickly, and your big sister is excited because that means that her birthday is just around the corner! 

She had a project today to work on her Valentine's Day Box.  I remember doing this as a kid, but don't remember mine every being all that special....so when Jovie asked if we could make hers more than a box, I agreed.  In all honesty, anything that will keep her busy and entertained right now I am all for!
She decided that she wanted a birdhouse valentine box because she still loves her little birdies even after the loss of Polly and Popcorn's eggs over the Summer.  We made the little house out of a box on the bottom, and a longer piece of cardboard for the top.  Then she did some decorating, and it turned out adorable!!

Little girl is quite proud of it, and can't wait to fill it up with all of her love notes.

February 7, 2012

Sick And Tired

Dear Carter,

I'm sorry that I've neglected your blog once again.  The good news is that I got Carter's Hope up and looking the way I finally wanted it.  I worked on it a lot over the weekend, and finally feel comfortable with the way it looks and runs.  Hopefully it will continue to grow! 

I've felt a little bit of jealousy these past couple of days.  It seems as though a LOT of people I know are either announcing that they are pregnant, or are having their babies. Don't get me wrong, I am THRILLED for each and every one of them, but at the same time, I am kind of wishing that I could experience that again with you. It takes me back to the last time that I had those moments, and the first time that I got to hold your hand.

Awwwwww, it is an adorable hand though, isn't it??  Especially with your long fingers.  I wish that I could somehow transport myself back to that time and feel that tiny hand wrapped around my finger again, but all I have are the memories of those moments.

Anyway, back to what we've been up to. We didn't do a whole lot for the Supebowl...just made some yummy food and hung out at home.  I haven't been feeling very well these last couple of weeks.  I mostly just feel like I have a head cold that doesn't want to leave.  If I don't start feeling better soon, I may have to just bite the bullet and go see a doctor.  I am feeling an improvement over yesterday, so hopefully I'm on the mend now.

We have a very important event coming up....your big sister is turning six!  I can't believe it.  It seems as though it's been made even more real over the last couple of days with finding her first loose tooth.  The baby girl is growing up!  No more of the finger sucking days!

I miss you my little sweetie, and feel the weight of your upcoming birthday.  I still find it hard to believe that you would be three!

February 1, 2012

Always On My Mind

Dear Carter,

It seems as though I'm not the only one who has had you on my mind lately.  The other day your sister came home with some writing on her arm.  I was just about to tell her that we don't write on ourselves when I noticed that it read "Carter McMerrick". 

I felt the air leave my lungs and felt the sadness creep its way into me, but it was soon replaced by pride.  That little girl is so proud to be your sister, and she misses you as much as I do.  We can't help it!

As I told you before, Mikey is very into making Powerpoint presentations right now.  Well, he told your Daddy and I that he had made one as a surprise for us.  When he showed it to us the tears started to fall.  It started out with a slide that read "Carter's Hope"...then went to one that said something like "Team Carter Rocks!"...then to another that read "He is in the sky".  This was his way of showing how much he loves you which is a big step for Mikey.  He really is a closed book when it comes to you.  He asked me today if we were going to the Operation Smile run this year.  I told him that I wasn't sure because I couldn't get in touch with the race coordinator from last year.....that's when he told me that he thinks we should just do one of our own which is something that your Daddy and I have been talking about.  Now we just need to make it happen!

We had your brother and sister's parent teacher conferences this week, and we are very pleased with how well they are doing.  They are growing so fast.  Jovie even got herself a loose tooth this weekend.  It just seems as though it's going way too fast!