June 11, 2013

What's Been Goin' On?!

Well, obviously I've neglected your blog ONCE AGAIN.  I'm not even going to make any promises to keep up on it because I'm just so dang busy that I KNOW I won't be able to keep it.  The truth is I've been updating on Facebook a lot more these days which has just caused the blog to take a backseat.  I have been working very hard on something FOR you, so I'm not really feeling badly about this.  It's just that sometimes, something has to give.  I have realized that there are some people who check this blog who would love to hear this exciting news though, so here it goes.

Here is an article I recently wrote for your Daddy's newsletter:

"Having a newborn in the NICU and with complex medical issues was much different than what we had been used to with Carter’s healthy brother and sister.  It wasn’t very often that we would hear somebody say something positive about our little guy.  There was a lot of negative…a lot of focus on the things that he couldn’t do…on the things he wouldn’t do.  Of course, we always ALWAYS fought for Carter, and fought to stay on the positive side of things.  We loved HIM for being HIM.

Surgeries for cleft lips and palates aren’t always for cosmetic reasons.  Some of these babies have a hard time creating suction to eat, and Carter was one of those babies.  He had to have a G-Tube placed to give us a way to feed his tiny body.

One day we had to go to a class to learn about how to take care of the G-Tube.  The class was full of several couples, most of whom had premature babies who were having  trouble with feeding.  During that class, one of the moms asked us if our son was a preemie too.  My husband answered no, and told her that our baby had a cleft lip and palate which made it hard for him to eat.  It was at this point that the nurse teaching the class (whom we had never met before) spoke up and said “and he is the CA-UTEST baby EVER!”  We were surprised because it seemed as though this nurse had visited a lot of babies, but Carter had made an impression on her.  She proceeded to tell us that her daughter was also born with a cleft lip, and she had just completed a mission for a charity named Operation Smile.  This was the first time that somebody had given Carter a compliment without really knowing him.  This was the first time that we began to see that we weren’t alone in this part of our journey.  This was the first time that we realized the cleft really wasn’t all that scary, or different.  This was the first time that we realized that while we had the option to repair his cleft. There are many people in the world without the option. This was the beginning of our love for the charity Operation Smile. 

About a week before Carter’s birthday, we found out about a 5K/One Mile Walk that supported Operation Smile.  When we saw that it actually fell on his birthday, we knew that we had to participate.  A bunch of people from Team Carter met up at Timpanogos Park, and ran or walked to show our support.  Even Carter was there being pushed in his stroller and showing off his new smile.
 Two months after that perfect day, he passed away and our lives have never been the same.

When the time came for the next 5K/Walk, we knew that we had to keep on keepin’ on in his memory and we participated for the next two years. 
 This year it is going to be a little different.  This year, Team Carter has been put in charge of the race and we’ve decided that since this charity helps kids, we should offer a race for kids.  We are proud to announce that the 6th Annual Operation Smile 5K/One Mile Walk & Kids’ K Run will be held on August 10th at Jensen Park in Syracuse. We hope that Carter will be proud, and that we can give kids a new smile with every mile.
If you are interested in participating, or even just making donation, you can find out more information at A Smile For Every Mile

March 28, 2013

Your Fourth Birthday

Dear Carter,

It was brought to my attention recently that I haven't blogged in a long time.  As in a REALLY long time.  Once again, I've gotten all caught up in the day to day life, and the blog has slipped through the cracks.  Normally, I would have felt guilty about that, but I've decided that sometimes I just have to let a few things go for a bit.  It's not that I haven't been working on projects FOR you, or FORGOTTEN about you.....it's just that it doesn't seem quite as important anymore to write on here about it.  Things are starting to slow down a bit, so maybe I can get rolling on this again, but I'm not making any promises.

Let's see......so much to catch you up on.  Well, we surprised your brother and sister with a trip to Disneyland in February.  It was so fun to keep such a big secret, and we all had a blast!  As always, we spent some time on the beach and felt you with us.  We even saw Dolphins from the pier!!

I think that our favorite part was probably the new Cars Land.  We are Cars fans though!
Jovie's Birthday was a few days after we got back, and on that very day we found a perfect match for our family.  Introducing Pugsley!!

Then, not long after that, your Grandma Sherie finally retired from her job!!  It's so exciting to know that she doesn't have to worry about working anymore.

So that's what our family has been up to....along with planning a very special event coming up in August.  More on that later ;)
Yesterday was your fourth birthday.  We decided that the best way to celebrate your sweet life was to light off sky lanterns at your gravesite. We were shocked by how many people showed up, and we are so thankful to our friends and family for making this such a beautiful way to remember you.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

On our way home, Jovie asked what happened to the lantern once we couldn't see them anymore.  Mikey's reply "Carter collected all of them and hung them in his Heaven house.".  And now I'm crying all over again.
Happy Birthday my sweet little one.  It's one more birthday that makes me closer to seeing you again. We love you and miss you with all of our hearts, and I hope that we are making you proud with the work we are doing for you.

January 21, 2013

End Up Here?

Dear Carter,

When I was a kid, I used to play in this Watermelon field that was right down the street from my house.  We used to have all kinds of fun in that field. We would pretend that we were on a Safari in the jungle, or hunting wild animals (snipe hunt anyone?). That field was the home of many adventures, and oddly enough, that field is where I am sitting right now.  In your room.

Who knew that I would end up here?  Wouldn't it be interesting to go back in time and tell myself, "hey, your house is going to be right there when you grow up".  It kind of already baffles my mind, and I'm the one who has followed the steps to get here.  There are so many other instances in my life when I have these kinds of thoughts.

Your brother and sister's school?  Well, that is actually where I went to school.  Right now I teach technology there with a couple of people who worked at that school when I was a student.  What do you think it would be like if I could go back in time and tell myself, "those people right over there will be your co-workers someday".  It's kind of a crazy idea to think about isn't it?

What about a couple of years before your Daddy and I started dating.  We both worked at McDonald's together, and were at complete opposite ends of the social spectrum.  Your Daddy was more of the "Prep", and I was more of the "Bad Girl Rocker Chick".  If you would have told me that I was going to one day marry Mike, I would have told you that you were crazy (and I'm sure he probably would have thought the same thing).

Now, if you would have told me five years ago that I was going to be given the hardest job in the entire world, I would have wondered what you are talking about.  Yet, here I am being the parent to a child in Heaven. Truth is, it definitely is the hardest job in the world, but I wouldn't change anything because in order to have this job, I had to be your Mommy.  Now that's something to be proud of.

I wonder what I'll want to tell myself five years from now.

January 16, 2013

Let It Snow

Dear Carter,

It snowed here like crazy last week. So much so that school got cancelled. I must admit that I was secretly crossing my fingers and hoping they would cancel school because there is not much that I like more than hanging out with our family in a warm house especially when we have no where to go. It was a nice change of pace, although it has been exceptionally cold and I am starting to crave that spring like weather.

Not much else is happening here. Just trying to stay warm and getting ready to gear up for your Operation Smile 5k this Summer.

January 8, 2013

The Little Things

Sometimes it's the little things that can just tear my heart out.

Jovie brought home a paper from school today that asked if there were any siblings who needed to sign up for Kindergarten. The school sends it out every year as a way to round them up. I have to admit that although you wouldn't have been in Kindergarten, it stung to see that. I will never be able to fill out that paper with your name and something as simple as that just breaks my heart.

On the other hand, sometimes it's the little things that can just make my day. Like, when someone mentions you, or someone asks a question about you.

Who knew that little things would seem so big.

January 7, 2013

Hard Goodbyes

Dear Carter,

Today brought one of those tough goodbyes that we knew would be coming... I just didn't think it would be today.

We said goodbye to our sweet little Dachsund, Bud, today. He really was a good boy, and has been with your Daddy and I since we started dating. It's weird to think that he's not here anymore. Jovie is the one who is taking it the hardest by far, but I think that she will be ok. She always considered that little dog as hers. I don't think that she will be without a puppy for long.

So, I believe that all dogs go to Heaven too which makes me think that you are playing with a new puppy tonight. Give him a kiss from all of us.

We love you both.

January 6, 2013

Seven, really??

Dear Carter,

I can't believe we are a week into January already. I've been keeping with all of my little projects, and it's been good for me. I really feel like I am on top of things for the time being..... Now let's see if I can keep it up.

Today, I worked on planning Jovie's birthday party. I simply can NOT believe that she is almost seven. Her birthday isn't until the middle of February, but we are going to be very busy for those first few weeks, so I thought I'd better get a jump on it now.

She's so dang cute, and was all about making lists of the guests she would like to have, the food, the activities.... Maybe I just need to put her in charge of Mikey's party this year! This is her first "friend" party, so I think she's a bit extra excited.

If only she knew what we have planned for her the week before (I can't wait to spill the beans!!)

I love you my sweetheart. My next project is something very cool for your birthday.

January 5, 2013

A World Of Barbie

Dear Carter,

Today was another freezing cold day which made it the perfect opportunity to snuggle up with your big sis and watch a Barbie movie.

The thing about Barbie movies is that they are soooooo magical. Usually the lead character (who isn't usually named Barbie) has some sort of magical power. In this particular movie, she had a hairbrush that could change her entire hairstyle with a swipe over her head. This is the kind of world that Jovie lives in. Where movies like this could really "maybe" happen in real life. Although lately I've noticed that she's trying hard to decipher what is real or fake.

As cheesy as it sounds, it's kind of nice to cuddle up to her and live in her world for a little while. I loathe the day when she grows too old for these types of movies. Why does she have to grow up so fast? I really need to be BETTER at slowing down with her and seeing the world through her eyes because it won't be long before her world won't be so innocent anymore.

I knew that there would come a day when I would lose you.... I just thought that I had more time. Don't we always?? I remember rocking you and smelling you and listening to you and kissing on you and cuddling with you and thinking to myself that I needed to imprint every single second with you in my mind. And you know what?? I kind of did although there are certain things that seem a little fuzzy now. It only takes a small trigger to bring it all back to life. I feel like from now on I need to do the same with Daddy, Mikey, Jovie, and all of my family and friends. I need to make every single second count because life flies by so dang fast. Of course this is easy to say., and a little harder to do because sometimes day to day life gets in the way, but I am telling you that I am going to try.

I'm going to keep trying to be better.

January 4, 2013

Techno Freaks!

Dear Carter Jay,

I'm cracking up over this picture I took at dinner time today.  Do you think our family likes technology a bit much??  Trust me when I say that this is not allowed at every dinner, but sometimes we all just need a break from each other so we can eat in peace.  Could those two be any more alike?!

I often wonder what kind of milestones you would have reached if you were still here with us.  Would you benefit from the use of an iPad?  While you were here, they were just barely becoming accessible and now it seems that most everyone has one.  What about later in life?  Will they develop a new way to fix a damaged trachea?  What kind of life would you have lived had you been born in a different time?  You certainly wouldn't have been with us as long as you were if you were born a century ago.

These are the kinds of questions that go through a grieving mommy's brain.  All of the "what ifs" and "how comes". I let myself go there sometimes because it gives me the opportunity to make up a better outcome for you (not better for you because I know that you are completely healed now, but maybe a better outcome for us?).  Sometimes it hurts a little too much to think of all of the "what ifs" and I have to distract myself with something else, but they are always ALWAYS there. If even just a whisper.

January 3, 2013

My Orchid

Dear Carter,

I have this thing where I really like to buy plants at the end of the season when they are 80% off, and they look so sickly that you just aren't sure if they are going to make it. Some of them do, and some of them don't, but there is something in the thrill of the chance. Can I really bring a plant back to health? Back to the way it was before??

I bought this orchid at the end of the season last year, and it's doing well. I'm anxious to see if it will bloom. I give it all of the proper attention, and will continue to, but sometimes it's just up to the plant if its going to bloom or not. There's nothing more I can do.

Today while looking at my beautiful Orchid, I started to wonder if this is how God thinks of me. I think that he surely gives me all of the proper attention, but now it's just up to me to bloom. He knows that there have been several points in my life when I have been on the 80% off rack just hoping that He would take a chance on me.

And I have no doubts that He always does.

And He has a way of making me whole again. I just have to put forth the effort to hold up my end of the deal and bloom.

I'm working on it.

And I hope the little Orchid is too.

January 2, 2013

My Fortune

Dear Carter,
The new year is under way now, and I can't help but think that the fortune I got in my cookie yesterday was no accident.

It's true that life has a lot of fine things that I used to overlook, and of course maybe there have been times when I have taken my friends for granted. I'd like to think that you changed that for me though.

Through your life, and especially through your death, I have really learned to appreciate the small gifts that God has blessed me with. I have also learned who my true friends are, and it's sad to me that it took losing you to really learn those lessons. Almost everything I do any more is about "making memories". After all, when this is all over, that's all I will have left. Of course I still get tied up in the trivial things, but I am certainly trying to do better with always concentrating on what's really important.

Like I said before, it's all about being better.

January 1, 2013

Goodbye 2012

Dear Carter Jay,

This year treated our family pretty good.  The only thing that would have made it better is if you could have been here with us, but since that can't happen....it was as close to great as we can get. As the year comes to a close, I wanted to share a few of my favorite highlights. we have so much to be thankful for.

There were a lot of exciting changes. A lot of exciting accomplishments that your brother and sister made. Your Daddy continued to find his footing in his management job too, and even won an award for "Most Improved Territory".  He's very humble, and won't take credit for the award, but we know better.  He totally deserves it!

I started out the year working at your brother and sister's school as a tutor.  Unfortunately my funding got cut this fall, and I went back to being a stay at home mom for a little while.  I'm excited to say that I'm working at the school again as a Computer Lab Manager.  While I still miss my old job, this one is pretty dang good too, and the best part is that I get to be near your brother and sister all day long.

At the beginning of the year, we took a family trip to San Diego. I LOVE going to the beach because I always picture you up in Heaven as my little surfer boy.  This trip brought some much needed relaxation, and their were several moments where we felt closer to you. There were so many memories that will always be held close to our hearts.

On your birthday, we sent you several balloons with little messages on them for you.  I hope that you liked them. 

Not too long after that we entered into the world of camping. We spent several weekends over the summer in our little tent trailer. It was so much fun!

Jovie joined a competition dance team, and although she hasn't competed yet, she loves it!

Your Grandpa retired, and we threw him a party.  Way to go Grandpa!!

Mikey finally found his niche and joined a swim team.  We are so excited to see where this path will lead him.

I had the opportunity to visit my Grandparents, Aunt, Uncles, and Cousin back in Michigan. I hadn't been back there in over ten years.  It was a huge blessing to reconnect with family, and I hope I can do it again soon.

I left Michigan to meet Daddy in Chicago.  He was there for a work convention, but we still had a little bit of time to play. I LOVED Chicago, and would go back any time!

We all packed up and took a trip to Montana to see Grandma Mary. It was a quick and relaxing trip.

Then of course we ran in the Operation Smile 5k in memory of you. The most exciting part is that in 2013 we will be taking over the race.  I hope we can continue to make you proud baby boy!


Finally, we had seven items donated to the Festival Of Trees in your memory, and they raised over $5000.  It was our biggest donation yet!

Most of all, we missed you like crazy.  You can see it in your brother and sister's faces when they got their first "Carter" sweatshirts.  We pray that next year will be another good one for our family, and we will continue to find ways to include you in everything we do.  We love you.