March 27, 2012

Happy Birthday My Sweet, Sweet Baby Boy

 Dear Carter,


Really???, you would be three years old.  Yet, you will always be a cute little fourteen month old to me.  I can't even picture you at three years old, but oh how I would love it if you were here right now and with us on your birthday.

We started out the day with giving your brother and sister a little gift.  We ordered them each a memory box to put all of their favorite things that remind them of you.  The boxes turned out adorable, and I think that they really liked them.  They already put some pictures and other things in them.  The quote that is written on them couldn't be more perfect.

 Next, Jovie got the idea that she wanted me to do her hair in the letter "C" for you.  I was a bit skeptical, but somehow pulled it off and it really did turn out awesome!
Afterward we did a little bit of shopping, and then made our annual trip to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate your birthday.  Mikey and Jovie think of this as your birthday spot, so we had to follow tradition.
We ended the afternoon with a balloon launch at your gravesite.  We all wrote little messages on our balloons, and I hope that you loved them!  I have no doubts that you snatched these up right away. It was really cool to stand by your grave and watch these float right up to you.  Mikey and Jovie LOVED it.

Most of the day I felt as though I was just numb...we did our best to just stay busy. As the night is dragging on, I can feel some of those emotions starting to boil over, and think that I'll just call it a night.  I hope that you had a wonderful birthday, and please know that we love you so very VERY much.  I'm off on my blogging break now, and will catch up in a few weeks.

Happy Birthday my little sweetheart. Thank you for choosing me to be your mommy.

March 25, 2012

The Fourteenth Little Thing....That Means That I Need A Break

Dear Carter,

I'm not going to lie.....things have been a bit tough around here.  I can't believe that your third birthday is on Tuesday!! I just miss you so much, and find myself a bit jealous of others that I can't spend this most important day with you.  After all, it's the day that changed my life FOREVER.  I got especially jealous when I took a short trip to Wal-Mart today and saw a toddler chasing after his mommy bawling, and she just kept screaming at him over her shoulder.  To make things worse, he didn't even have any shoes on, and the store was SO busy.  I find myself repeating that I shouldn't judge, but sometimes I just can't help but think why these people take their babies for granted....and here we are missing you. 

I haven't done a very good job at updating your blog again, or with even working on Carter's Hope.  I feel really badly about it, because I feel as though it means that I'm losing touch with you in a sense.  The truth is that I just don't have much to say that is happy right now, and I feel as though when I write about the negative then I will let it consume me.  I'm just trying to tread water here and trying to just keep on swimming. I'm doing it baby, and I KNOW that the brighter days are ahead. I can feel it!

I've thought and thought and thought of ways that we can celebrate it, and the only idea that I've come up with is doing a balloon launch for you.  I've had several people tell me that they are planning to do the same, and we say the more the merrier! I'm sure that you would absolutely LOVE having lots of balloons up at your birthday party. I hope that you can feel the love that we all have for you.

I've had this feeling lately that maybe the best thing for me would be to just take a couple of weeks off from blogging and Facebook. I know that you're probably thinking that I already do that with the length of time between my posts, lol, but even when I'm not writing on here, I am thinking about it.  I think that I just need a little break.  Maybe a couple of weeks. I promise that I'll be back, but I feel as though I need to take some time and just focus on our healing and on our family.  I've got a post scheduled for your very special birthday, but I don't plan to write much else.  When I do come back, I'll be ready to tell you about all of the cool things we've been up to, and hopefully I'll be refreshed for blogging. 

I am always so thankful for the support of our friends and family, and appreciate all of the kind comments and words of encouragement during this tough time for our family during this tough period....we appreciate them more than you know, and they really do help!!

I love you so much my little sweetie pie.  I hope to kiss you in my dreams tonight.  I miss you.

March 18, 2012

The Thirteenth little thing.....that is just the sweetest thing!

Dear Carter,

First of all, I have to tell you how AMAZING it was to see all of the pictures from Hudson's Operation Smile race.  I can't believe that he managed to raise $650!  That's almost enough to change THREE lives forever!! I was also completely SHOCKED to learn that over 4500 children participated in this year's Operation Smile Final Mile. It had to be one amazing sight! Here he is the night before.  He looks ready, doesn't he?!?!
And here he is afterwards with his very cool medal.  We are so proud of Hudson for having the courage to do this.  Being one in a sea of 4500 had to be intimidating!  I just know that you were right there with him though!

 And here is a cute little message that the Lee family sent after the race.  It may be hard to tell, but they are spelling out your name there, AND sporting their Team Carter shirts.  Oh how I love this family!

Thank you so much to everyone who donated, and a special thanks to the Lee family for their continued support of Team Carter.  It's amazing to think how much impact Carter can have clear across the country! We just love you guys.

March 14, 2012

The Twelfth Little Thing....That Has Me Saying WOW!

Dear Carter,

Once again I haven't been very at keeping up on your blog.  I felt like I needed a bit of a computer break again, and it really was good for me.  I feel like I'm ready to go again!!

Today, I decided to check out little Hudson's One Smile page to see how his fundraising is going, and I was SHOCKED to see that he completely crushed his first goal of raising enough funds for one surgery, and has now surpassed his second goal of getting enough for two surgeries!!  The race is only a couple of days away, and if he can raise another $110 he will have enough to change THREE children's lives forever!! Way to go Huddy!!

And to think that he's doing this in memory of you, just leaves me saying WOW again.  I don't know why I am constantly amazed by how you can continue to make a difference in this world.  It still just completely takes me by surprise...simply because you were only here for such a short period of time. I feel so So SO much pride in being your mommy. Thank you for all you do Carter Jay, it's an honor to be your mommy.

If anybody is interested in helping Hudson reach his new goal, you can follow this link: Hudson's One Smile Page .  Even a dollar would help!  I'm sorry if anyone feels like I am always pushing this charity. I feel like I am constantly asking for money for Operation Smile, but it is because it only takes $240 for a simple surgery that will change a child's life FOREVER.  I feel a strong connection to this fundraiser because I feel like Carter picked it to be his.  I would have never have even found out about it had we not done that first 5K with Carter on his birthday.  To think that it was almost exactly three years ago takes the breath right out of me, but at least I know that the tradition carries on in one way, or another.

March 7, 2012

The Eleventh Little Thing....That Gives Me More Hope

Dear Carter,

As I was taking your sister to dance class tonight, I looked into the sky to see this HUGE moon.  Now, it may not seem that huge in my crazy out of the car windo cell phone picture, but trust me when I say that it was quite impressive.  Jovie and I were talking about the way it looked, and about how God had made such pretty things to look at.

When she came out of dance class, the first thing she did was look for the giant moon.  By that time it was much smaller, and she was a bit disappointed.  We got into the car, and the fabulous song, Starry Night, by Chris August.

In case you don't know it, here are the lyrics...

"I'm giving my life to the only one who makes the moon reflect the sun...
Every Starry Night, that was His design
I'm giving my life to the only Son who was, and is, and yet to come
Let the praises ring, cause he is everything"

I mean seriously, could we have heard a more perfect song??  As you know baby boy, these last few days have been difficult for me.  Wow, I guess it's been more than the last few days, but the last few have been exceptionally difficult. 

Your brother and sister have been having a tough time, and have been asking me a lot of really tough questions.  I've been finding myself feeling sorry that they have to even think about these things at such a young age.  I find myself worrying about them, and how this will shape their faith.  But last night I was reminded by my very wise friend that God is going to take care of them, and He will guard their hearts.

And for some reason, I feel as though this moon and this song coming on were no coincidence.  I feel as though He is telling me to hand it over to Him.  That He is in control. 

I knew this all along, but it seems as though at times I tend to forget it.  So, here I am, handing it over to Him again.

And we'll see where it leads.

One last thing my sweet little guy, today is the national Spread The Word To End The Word campaign.  I need to mention it in my blog post as I have every year since you were here.  Here is what I wrote on your Facebook page.  I think it says it all!

Such a busy day around here, and I *almost* missed the Official Spread The Word To End The Word day. Shame on me!! So here goes my plea for stopping the use of the word "retarded". When you say "I'm just being retarded" for doing something stupid, I hear "I'm just being Carter.". When you say "This pen is retarded", I hear "This pen is Carter." I KNOW that this is a word that a lot of people grew ...up using, and that you don't mean it "in that way", but that is the way that I hear it. So please, choose a different "ridiculous" because that one is less likely to send a dagger into my heart. Thank you so much to all of our friends and family who have taken this word out of their vocabulary, and also to all of the others who are really trying. I'll admit that I wasn't even aware that this word was offensive until I had my sweet baby boy. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

March 6, 2012

The Ninth Little Thing....That Has Me Struggling

Dear Carter,

The last two nights have been just plain rough.  I'm not sure exactly what has triggered it, but your brother and sister have had a LOT of tough questions for me.  Their little minds are growing, and they are trying so hard to understand exactly where you are....and what it's like in Heaven.

How do I answer these questions for them, when I haven't seen it with my own eyes?

I'm trying very hard to find something to be thankful for in this, but I've got to admit that it's a little difficult.  Having to comfort your brother and sister and watching them hurt over you doesn't make it any easier.  I will continue to try hard to find a silver lining.....maybe better understanding of what they are feeling?

Either way, I am asking that you somehow let them know that you are still with them.  That you love them so very much.  That you know how much they miss you.

And I'll continue to do my best to explain the mysteries of our faith to them.

March 5, 2012

The Eighth Little Thing.....That Shows How Quickly Things Change

Dear Carter,

Today was a beautiful day outside! Your sister even had a chance to try out her new roller skates.  She still needs a bit of practice getting her balance.  Perhaps we all need to continue to work on that.  I feel as though I've been off-balance since the day you left.

With the warm weather brought that feeling of Spring fever.  This year, your daddy turned a large chunk of our yard into a vegetable garden.  He even put up a little fence to keep the Beefcake out of it.  Your sister and I couldn't be more excited!  We spent a big portion of our night using an online tool to plot out exactly what we are going to plant, and where. 

As was the case for me last year, the idea of planting a garden brings back so many memories.  I remember taking you for your first walk up to Grandma and Grandpa's house to take care of the garden up there.  This was only a few days before the surgery.  You don't look too happy here, but you were thrilled once you started to feel the air between those toes!

It's crazy to me to see how much has changed since this picture was taken.  It's only been two years, and yet it feels like an entire lifetime ago.  I remember loving this walk, and thinking of how many more we would go on after your surgery....if only I would have known that this was my only chance.

When I look back to just last year, it still seems like a lifetime ago.  So many things have changed.  I went from full-time mommy/nurse to a part time school tutor.  I went from a special needs mommy to a grieving mommy.  I went from a mommy to three on Earth to a mommy to two on Earth and one in Heaven.

Now your sister was in the room with me and is having a moment of missing you, so I'm going to go and give her all kinds of cuddles and comfort.  She loves you so much my little sweetie.  We all do.

March 3, 2012

The Seventh Little Thing.....That Means You're Having A Party!

Dear Carter,

I'm sorry that I didn't post anything yesterday. I was just plain drained and couldn't think of anything to say. Today has been a bit better Today was a very big day for your big brother. He made his very first Reconciliation. He and I took a trip up to the church this morning so he could talk to the priest. Before the priest got started with all of the kids, he made a little speech to the students in which he said that God would be having a party tonight with all of the angels because the kids were confessing their sins. Mikey looked back at me and smiled, and I knew exactly what he was thinking.....he was excited that you got to go to a party tonight!! I hope that it was awesome!

Your brother will be making his First Holy Communion in April, and he couldn't be more excited. It makes me happy to see how much faith he has, and to also watch it grow. I don't think there is anything more rewarding as a parent. He is becoming his very own child of Christ.
This week was also tie day at his school where he chose to wear his Daddy's Broncos tie. He's picked the wrong team if you ask me! :)

March 1, 2012

The Sixth Little Thing.....That Just Plain Sucks

Dear Carter
I just got back from the viewing of the young man who passed away this last weekend, and it has left me seriously wounded. I am grateful that I had the sense to not attempt the funeral at this point, although I would love to be able to support my friend even more.

It's just not in me right now.

I was happy to see so many people who came to support the family.  It is obvious that he was a special boy, and his loss will be far-reaching. As I made my way through the line, I was flooded with memories of your funeral, and it just plain hurt. I started to realize that God blessed me, and my friend's family, in much the same way.

He gave us both a lot of support for these hard times.

I honestly don't think that I would have healed at all from your loss without these three...

and I know that our family wouldn't be doing very well at all if we didn't have the support of our family and friends.

Today I am thankful to our Father for placing these people in our lives.  For giving them the means to aid us in our journey of healing.  For allowing me to hopefully give even one single second of comfort to this family who is new on the journey. For continuing to show me how much I miss you, even though it hurts so much. 

Those kinds of moments remind me how much I love you.

Now, I'm going to go and take a hot bath and go to bed, but I will also be praying for the Birch family.  My heart hurts.