Happy 11 Months, Carter!

Dear Carter,

It's hard to believe that you used to be much smaller than your yellow bear! In order to truly show how you've grown and developed and to capture the energy and agility that you now possess, I had to include the whole sequence of pictures that I took while trying to capture your 11-month photo. :)You love to clap all of the time, especially when you know you've done something well! You have just started signing "more" and "to eat." You babble often, and occasionally you've surprised us with some words: socks, clap, Jesus... But we haven't been able to get you to repeat them, so I think you just happened to say them correctly by accident while you tried to mimic us. The funniest time, however, was around Christmas when Grand Mary and Papa were here. We were all watching you in the bathtub, as you were splashing, sliding around, and having a grand ole time.

Grand Mary asked, "Carter, are you having fun?"

And you lifted your fists in the air and said with extreme enthusiasm and volume, "YES!!!!"

It took us ten minutes to stop laughing! We know you didn't know what you were saying, but the irony and coincidence of your response was so perfect!

You recently discovered that you like to play with my hair, especially if I have a clip in it. At least now, you don't yank it like you used to.

You've become very attached to your daddy and prefer him over anyone else. He loves you so much and treasures every moment he has to teach you and play with you. One of my favorite moments from this month was on Christmas Eve when he pulled you onto his lap and read the first few chapters of Luke to you so you could hear the story of Jesus' birth.

This month, we visited a pediatric allergist and discovered your allergies to milk, eggs, beef, peanuts, and wheat. Luckily, the wheat allergy is so subtle that we do not have to avoid it completely. Many sweet moms, some whom I don't even know, have offered their advice, food suggestions, and encouragement as we've made changes to our cooking and your diet. I have been so grateful for their help!

In the spirit of Christmas, or Christmas colors at least, I gave you a treat since you miss out on many "good" foods. An oreo!! And one with RED icing at that. :) One of the few sweets that doesn't contain milk or eggs. This is what your daddy came home to a few weeks ago...
I think Daddy was a little concerned until I told him what you had eaten (and were wearing!). A mess indeed, but you sure did enjoy it!

It was so much fun to take you with us this year to pick out our Christmas tree. Since it was already dark, you couldn't really tell where we were or what we were doing.But you sure did like the end result when we got the tree home and decorated it!Luckily, you didn't try to touch the tree as often as we thought you would. Next year may be a different story.

We also went to the Zoolight Safari at the Birmingham Zoo. This is where your daddy took Mommy on one of their first few dates. We bundled you up for the cold weather.
You can't really tell from this picture, but the zoo had lights everywhere! It was fun watching you take them all in.
You rode your first carousel! Once we began moving, you leaned your head back to watch the ceiling move. It was also adorable when you spotted Daddy with the camera on one of the rounds....you called out "daaaadddddaaaaa!" And followed him with your eyes until you could no longer see him.
I think the ride gave you an adrenaline rush because you definitely perked up when we got off. Until then, you had been pretty tired and subdued. Here's the smile we love!
Parts of the zoo were open, so we saw some llamas and sheep. You were definitely intrigued. We'll have to go back in the spring to see ALL of the animals!
This month was so special, Carter! We especially enjoyed celebrating the Christmas season with you. I have posted pictures of the holidays in another post. I know you won't remember your first Christmas, so I hope the stories and pictures we share will portray the joy you brought to our lives this year. We love you!

Happy 11 months!


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Glory Baby

Glory baby, you slipped away as fast as we could say "baby."
"Glory Baby" by Watermark

It seems surreal. Like the last week was just a dream and not reality. Just days ago, Scott and I were excitedly planning for the addition of another baby to our family. A sibling for Carter. Then as quickly as we began rejoicing in the news, we found ourselves mourning the loss of this little life.

This loss happened much earlier than our other two losses. Maybe that makes it easier. I don't know. Will we still meet this baby in heaven? Or was it too early to develop?

I always thought another miscarriage would be less devastating now that we have a child. But, in some ways, it's even more heartbreaking. I have found myself thinking thoughts like, was that our little girl? Or would this little boy have been best friends with his big brother? Would he have Carter's blue eyes or our hazel ones? Which characteristics of family members would this baby have?

While I am not mad at God, I do feel frustrated. Frustrated that this happened right before Christmas. Carter's first Christmas. Frustrated that on Christmas Day, there will be a lingering thought that we were supposed to surprise our families with the news that afternoon. Frustrated to add another date to a list of days that will forever bring a sense of loss each year. Frustrated that the next pregnancy (God willing), we won't have the same carefree joy and giddiness that we just felt, similar to our very first pregnancy, where bad news is unexpected. Next time, we'll be happy but also guarded. Fearful to embrace the baby fully with unabandoned joy until weeks later.

I just don't understand. I know miscarriages are so common, but three? Is there something wrong with my body? Has anyone out there had the same experience and discovered the cause?

I am so grateful that we have Carter, as I know there are women who are never able to conceive at all. At the same time, it's hard to suppress my desire for more children. It's heartbreaking to not be able to give my husband the gift of another child that he yearns for. And it's difficult, if not impossible, to fight off the pain of losing yet another baby. Even though I had that life for just a brief time, I am left feeling empty. Like a small piece of me is missing.

I am sad. But I am hopeful for another miracle baby. I pray that God will quickly heal me, and Scott, both physically and emotionally. I pray that His peace will replace my fears. I pray that my attention will once again turn to the Baby that we are celebrating this season. And all of you who yearn for a child, whether it be your first or your fifth, I join you in praying for a miraculous 2009.


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New Posts

I am catching up on a month of blogging, so scroll down for several new posts. I backdated some (like Carter's 10 month letter), so you may have to read past posts you've already seen. More posts to come. :)

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Carter's 1st Santa Sighting

Friday, December 12th at Brookwood Mall

It didn't go over too well. He was intrigued by the beard but then quickly put up a fight to be released from the scary man in the red suit. Luckily, Santa was very sweet and patient!

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Carter's 1st Thanksgiving

While the 11-hour drive to Cary, NC was rough, it wonderful to see my parents and spend Carter's 1st Thanksgiving with them, as well as with Courtney and her husband, Ivan. Here are a few highlights from the visit...
My sister, Courtney, made delicious pumpkin waffles!! I love anything with pumpkin, and these were especially good.Carter with his Aunt Coco. Somehow, Uncle Ivan managed to avoid being in all of our pictures!
Dad carving the turkey. Jackson was very interested in what was going on on the countertop. (I think my dad was secretly giving him pieces.)Carter with his Papa

Of course, the day after Thanksgiving, I pulled out the Christmas attire! :) I bought several outfits last year after Christmas when they were on sale with the hopes that Carter would fit it into them this year. We've had to lower the buttons on a few things, but so far so good!
Though my dad's birthday is December 18th, we went ahead and celebrated it while we were all together. My mom made her famous cherry pie. I think Carter thought the song was for him. :)
Loving his sweet potatoes!
Carter with Papa and GrandMary
Papa and Carter watching football. Carter looks very concerned for Auburn (and rightfully so!).

On the drive home, we stopped in Spartanburg, SC to see my grandmother, Mimi. Carter didn't sit as still in her lap as he did the last visit, but he brought Mimi smiles nonetheless.

And finally, here is a video of Carter hamming it up and making his silly face. Because he knows it makes people laugh, he often does it unprompted. And at complete strangers! And the longer he does it, the more dramatic the face. :) He has his hand in his mouth most of this video, but you'll get the idea.

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Several weeks ago, we took a roadtrip to Fairhope to see some family. We stayed with Mama (my 90-year-old grandmother, and yes...that's her above!) and also got to visit with friends and family.
Mama singing to Carter
The flowers in downtown Fairhope are always beautiful! We met Emily and Nicole and her son Ethan for lunch.
Mama had colorful blocks and toys for Carter to play with. But the coaster was his toy of choice.
We bundled him up to walk to the downtown shops. It was pretty cold for Fairhope!
My cousin Angie (see below), her husband Rob, and her kids (Tripp, Lily, and Charlie) gave Carter this toy dog. He was particularly fascinated by the red string. :)
Carter isn't always a cuddle bug since he loves to move around, but he loved hugging on his cousins!
Lily, Tripp, Charlie, and Mama (as you can tell, Carter gets antsy to get down and play)
He LOVED the piano and banged pretty hard on it. We have one at home, but he hasn't shown as much interest in it as this time. My Aunt Chee Chee was showing him how to play the keys.
It was a fun trip! Nothing beats time with family.

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