Sunday, December 27, 2009


I think for a few months we all knew it was coming, we just didn't want to talk about it. As the holidays (and time off from school) approached we, as a family, started to talk about taking apart Grey's room. On Thursday it was decided that Ry would move back into his old room, since he had gotten booted when we found out we were expecting Grey. But he had a couple conditions; we had to paint over Grey's jungle print with two walls being green and two walls being tan, and we had to make it a GI Joe room. So . . . not only was it going to be hard enough to dismantle Grey's room, now I had to paint it, something I swore that after painting it the first time I would never do again.

On Friday Bill and I found ourselves at Target buying GI Joe bedding, then at Sherwin Williams picking out paint, a gallon of green and a gallon of tan. As we bought all the needed supplies we found ourselves getting excited for Riley. But as we walked into Grey's room and started unscrewing his crib, we found ourselves in tears.

First of all, what we were going to do with everything? I had called a co-worker earlier in the week to offer her a few of Grey's things but couldn't follow through with it. Now Bill and I had a room full of dismantled stuff; crib and bedding, changing table and diapers, toy chest full of his toys, and his swing. The closet had even more stuff; highchair, stroller, car seat, play gym. His dresser was still full of his clothes. It seemed like we were only moving things from his room out into the living room. Now Grey was everywhere! Overwhelmed I called my mom to help us.

As she stumbled through our living room into Grey's room, she found both Bill and I crying as we attempted to take his toys out of his toy chest and put them into a big black trash bag. No matter how hard we tried, we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Then my mom came up with this great idea.

She suggested that we bag up his toys, but use his toy chest as a keepsake chest and put it in our room. In it we would keep only the things we really needed. Brilliant! For some reason, both Bill and I could handle that. In the mess we had created, suddenly Grey's things became a clutter that we could get rid of, needing to keep only the things that we held dear to us. We also kept all his clothes, bibs, and blankets that meant something to us. We decided to have them made into a quilt.

After we loaded up my truck with Grey's "stuff", we decided as a family what we would do with it. The decision was easy, as all six of us knew at once that it should all be donated to Hope Hospice in New Braunfels, in an attempt to try to repay them for all they have given us these last 13 months. Bill will drop them off tomorrow after he get off his night shift. Selfishly, I'm glad it's him doing it instead of me.

After the truck was loaded, Bill and I started taping, then painting his room. Bill was awesome! Even though he had to be at work the next morning at 7 am, he was up past midnight helping me get a good start on Ry's room. We got the 2 green walls painted before we called it a night.

This morning I woke up early and touched up the greenwalls, then started on the tan. I was so anal about it all, knowing that Grey would want Ry to have the perfect room. As of this evening, he does.

As Riley and I finished making his bed, he ran into his old room. He came back with his picture of Grey and Grey's favorite bath toy (a cheetah devil duck that Ry had given him) that he had found yesterday going through his things.
"There. Now it's perfect!" Ry shouted as he jumped up and down on his new bed, happier than I have seen him in a long time.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas Grey

As the wrapping paper was being ripped to shreds I realized, that for the most part, my boys have moved on. No more are they consumed by their brother's death. In the moment, they aren't concerned with what toys he may have liked at this age, or whether or not he would have remained awake in the wonderment of Santa.

But as Riley plays with his remote controlled 3 foot dinosaur, I wonder how Grey would have reacted to it. Would he have been scared or would he have faced it head on with his toy sword? I find myself turning towards the personalities of my nephews, or a friend's son, now my only comparisons for toddler reactions. Hmmmmm? But they are not Grey. And his personality patiently awaits for me until I see him again, someday.

Constantly pulled, between the loved ones of this world, and my longing to see my baby. I went for a walk late last night and pondered the thoughts of his Christmas in Heaven. I asked him, out loud, how his Christmas was so far. With perfect timing our neighbor shot off a beautiful firework. As a grieving mom, I took it as a sign from Grey. And as I realize that I could never give him that kind of Christmas here on earth, I find myself questioning if his Christmas was good enough. The toys. What about the toys? Surely God doesn't make Christmas in Heaven all about Jesus. That would be just selfish! My baby had better have gotten toys, and lots of them! I could have made sure he had gotten them. I would have delighted in his wild eyes as he marveled at our tree.

But then again, had I not experienced Grey's loss, I may have taken those eyes for granted. Perspective, I tell myself. Keep everything in perspective and the grip on my heart will loosen.

Last year, I muddled through. But this year, I must press forward. I must move through those things that keep me floating in his memory.

I think it starts with taking apart his room. It needs to, once again, become Riley's room not Grey's. One of my Christmas presents was a gift certificate to Sherman Williams for paint. I need to paint the walls. They can't stay bright yellow with giraffe spots. Like the book, Lovely Bones, when they find their dead daughter's bracelet years later. The mother looks at it, and instead of rejoicing in the finding, she realizes that her daughter's bracelet is that of the little girl she once knew, not who her daughter would be now. I get that. Grey probably wouldn't even want that baby room anymore. And for Christmas, I probably would have given him a different room, one with the new things he liked, whatever those might have been.

But keeping his room has kept Grey my baby. It's the only Grey I have ever known. It's the place I go when I need to smell him, feel him close. But I've realized, Grey's memory does not reside in his room.

Grey's memory resides in my heart. Only there can he grow.

Dearest Grey,
Merry Christmas Little Man. I miss you more than I can put into words. I love you even more than that. I pray that your Christmas was everything that you wanted it to be, that you didn't feel like you had to miss out, to be here with me making sure I was OK. I'm OK baby. Go and play. Go and play.
Forever Your Mom

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Blanket

I'm hoping today marks the last of "a year ago today", with Grey's memorial. I drove past the funeral home today on the way to the grocery store to get makings for fudge. And like every other time that I drive by it, it didn't really make me sad. I still see all of you standing in the parking lot, dressed in your Sunday best, balloon in hand. It usually makes me smile, all there for the love of my baby. Today was no different.

But last night was rough. It's not often that I let myself actually feel Grey's loss. Most days I am too busy convincing myself that Grey's loss does have purpose. Most days it doesn't take much convincing. But yesterday, as Bill and I went Christmas shopping, there was no convincing me. It must have been the shopping for the stockings, everything in threes, instead of fours. It made me so sad. The innocent comment from teller, "Three at home?"

How do you say yes without feeling guilty? How do you say no without an explanation?

This last year and a half has just been a whirlwind. Sometimes, I'll look up and see his picture and I can't believe that he is really gone, that I'll never, ever hold him again. That I'll never know what, as a two year old, he would like to play with. That I'll never again hear his laugh.

As I write this and feel the pain in my chest, I can feel why it's easier to focus on what I had with Grey, what he gave to the world, instead of focusing on the loss. And I am lucky, that most days, I wear him like a blanket. Most days I feel his soft spirit warming my skin. I can hear him whispering in my ear, giving me strength to smile and laugh. I want to smile and laugh.

On Friday, at school, our band and choir had a Christmas concert. At first, my heart hurt as I felt lonely in a gym full of people. Then I realized that last year at this time, their was very little room for celebration at my school. The memory of it breaks my heart. But as I looked around, I saw Grey's spirit everywhere. I saw it in Chelsy and Richard as they danced in unison to Frosty The Snowman. I heard it in the kid's voices as they sang along. I saw it in Dani's smile. And I realized that in just a year, because of an amazing little boy, we have all grown and healed a lot.

His loss could be so much worse.

Grey's Gingerbread House

Last year when we lost Grey, we decided that every year on his birthday, we would make him a gingerbread house. Here is this year's. It's not a masterpiece, but it was done with love. We miss you Baby!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Baby

This is called "A Christmas Song", by Dave Matthews (of course). I don't know why, but since I lost Grey this song has always remided me of him. Maybe because sometimes I view him, too, as a sacrificial lamb.

Father up above
Why in all this anger
Do you fill me up with love
Fill me up with love, love

Dearest Grey,
Happy 2nd Birthday Little Man. I am so proud to call myself your mom. What you've given me I could never have gotten from any other. Fly high & play hard.
Love - Forever your mom

Before you start the video remember to scroll all the way down first to pause the blog playlist music.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

In The Days Since . . .

"How have you been since the 12th? How are you feeling?"

It not like I haven't asked this question to myself a thousand times since Saturday, but when the words rolled out of my mouth it was like I heard them for the first time.

Now I don't know what all you out there believe, and I'm hoping that those who follow my blog don't judge the senses of a grieving mom, but I believe that from the time my little man left his body, his spirit grew within me ten fold. I feel him. I smell him. I hear him. I see him in extraordinary ways.

But since the 12th, I feel his absence. And I'm almost wondering if God gave him a timeline, like a set amount of time that he was allowed to just focus on me and make sure that I was OK. Like he knew that if I was OK, I could emotionally keep our family afloat. But now his year is up and he has to move on.

Not move on completely, but focus on others. Ry has been talking about him in his sleep. Bill has seen many more things that he has felt Grey has put his hand in. And in a way, I pray that Grey can give Bill and the boys the strength that he has given me this past year. But a huge part of me mourns the thought of losing that connection.

I laid in bed just last night and talked to Grey, pleading with him to show me a sign, to let me feel him again. And sure enough, this morning my cardinal flew in front of my truck. A bright red blur in the grey morning sky.

Bill thinks he's just taking a break, that the heart in the balloons was a huge sign for us, that Grey expended all his energy for one big sign. What an awesome sign it was! But I don't think so. I think he now has to spread himself a little thinner, give his heart to more people than just me. And I understand that.

"How have you been since the 12th? How are you feeling?"

I miss him. I really miss him.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Grey's 1st Angel Day

The anticipation of December 12th was much worse than the actual day itself. And if I had truly stopped to think about it, I would have realized that, not unlike any other day, my friends and family would be there to get me through.

Many of you have since apologized for not being able to either be there at all, or be there for our 2:00 balloon release. My response to that would be to show you the picture below, snapped at 2:08, exactly a year to the minute that our little man left his broken body. Please take comfort in knowing that you were exactly where you were supposed to be at that very second. For if you had been with us, the picture may had turned out very differently (I see it as a heart with wings).
The crucial times I was worried about getting through, 2:08 and 4:30 (when Grey's little body was driven away) were full of waves of people. It was perfect! At 4:30, we were too busy playing the Wii to even notice what time it was.

Families brought us ornaments, a great idea inspired by Misti. She asked that people bring ornaments that reminded them of Grey. It was incredible to see how others viewed our little man. We got angels, cardinals, a dove (all the way from Hunter's Hope in NY), a Texas flag, jungle animals, and ornaments encompassing our whole family. It was incredible!

People wrote messages to Grey on balloons and sent them up to him. What I wouldn't have given to see what they all had written! A few that weren't here wrote poems and mailed them to us. We also bought a blue star balloon on which we put his name on with stickers. Ry let that one go.

A few people asked if they could go into Grey's room. I get that, and thank you for asking. Some just felt the need to feel closer to him. And when I would come to check on you, and hear you talking to him . . . my heart just swelled, as did my eyes.

I imagine that this will be an annual thing, maybe some years bigger than the others depending on the day of the week that the 12th falls. I could go on and on about all the parts that made up this perfect day, but instead I'll just post pictures.

Thank you, all of you, for getting us through this first year. I know Grey lives in all of you. I love you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Days 11 & 12

I know I've fallen a couple days behind, but in the rush to get home and start getting ready for Grey's First Angel Day, I left day #11 at school. However, you should be proud that I didn't open it and didn't even know what it was until Melinda told me. It will be there waiting for me to open when I arrive tomorrow, the last Monday morning before Christmas Break. Magical Memory #11 was a lion.

Last Spring Bill and I took Grey for pictures. We actually bought an outfit for him to wear right there at JC Penney before his session. We brought some jungle animals from his room to have in the pictures with him. But while looking for the outfit, I saw this cute little lion. He ended up making it in the picture too.

Looking back at this picture, I wonder why we didn't question the fact that, at 4 months old, Grey was still not holding up his head.

For Magical Memory #12, both Melinda and Chelsy gave me memories. Melinda gave me a small cardinal ornament, small enough to place on my desk with it drawing too much attention. It's perfect.

Chelsy, again, wrote the most incredible note and brought us beautiful flowers. From her we received in words that miracle #12 was Bill & I. It was nice to be reminded, that as often as the two of us feel like a "broken" couple, it could have only been us who could have brought Grey into this world. #12 reminds us, that if Bill and I weren't exactly who we were, the world would be a different place. And even though it's been a year full of struggles, it has also been a year full of triumphs. Thank you Chelsy. We love you too.

I have tons of pictures that Misti took that I will get tomorrow, so I think I'll save blogging about Grey's Angel Day until then. However, I would like to share one picture with you that she knew I wanted right away. At 2:08 PM, the exact moment that we lost Grey, about 30 of us released balloons. Misti snapped a picture. This is what she got.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day Ten

Magical Memory #10 was snow.

A year ago, close to midnight, Grey got to see snow. I remember bundling him up and taking him on the front porch. I remember his eyes opening as the cold rushed over his body. I remember snuggling with him by the Christmas tree, listening to the other boys enjoying the rarity.

Snow, maybe the only thing coming close to Grey's beauty. Snow from the Heavens, maybe to welcome him, to give him a glimpse of the beauty that was to soon come.

Snow. My baby saw snow.

This past week has been really hard for me. I can't even explain the emotions that I am feeling. I had no idea, that as I stormed through Grey's death, my mind was filing every action, smell, and sound of every moment to be relived a year later.
Yesterday . . . a year since most of my school family came to say goodbye. Misti's forced smile. Mitzi's soup. All of them gathered around the Lazy-Boy. Grey settled on Dani's chest. My heart still breaks as I look at their faces.
Today . . . a year since Dani, Richard, Chelsy, and Hillary said goodbye. I can see Dani's broach, Richard's nervous hand as he stroked Grey's hair, Chelsy's tears, and Hillary's face.
Tomorrow . . . a year since Ceci said goodbye. I can see her whispering in his ear.

It's been a week of goodbyes. They play over, and over, and over in my head. But I feel them deep within my soul.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day Nine

Day nine brought the Dave Matthews Band poster from the 2009 Texas tour.

This is from the first tour that Melinda went on with me and Ceci. DMB closed both shows with Grey Street. Both nights we all sobbed through it. We couldn't help but think that Grey had his hand in the setlists.

Along with the poster came a great letter. Melinda had taken the time to find DMB lyrics that reminded her of Grey. It was incredible! And the funny thing about it is, that even though nearly every DMB song reminds me of Grey, Melinda found some lyrics that I would have never thought of.

Melinda, like the "mean one", was also new to our school, coming to work in my SpEd department. Nothing like walking into a new job and finding out your department head's son is terminal. It would have been easy for her, too, to be a mere observer to my pain. But instead, she shared it with me. Melinda was with me the day we got the call of Grey's diagnosis. The picture below was taken the same day. I've shared more than one of the worst days of my life with her. Great for me. Not so great for her.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day Eight

Magical Memory #8 is Chick-fil-A.

On October 30th, when we had to admit Grey to the hospital for failure to thrive, "the mean one" called and asked if she could bring us dinner. She brought us Chick-fil-A, Bill's favorite.

On December 10th she would bring us lunch, Chick-fil-A. She didn't even have to ask us what we wanted. She even remembered Chick-fil-A sauce for Bill's strips.

And on December 10th, she would take Grey from me, kiss him on the head, and say good-bye for the last time.

This "mean one" was a stranger to our family last August, new to our school and her job. She had a connection with Grey that few knew about, and still does. When Grey got sick, she jumped into our lives when it would have been much easier to walk away.

But she didn't. She loved us enough to bring us Chick-fil-A.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Seven

Some things that remind me of Grey he never even touched. Some of these things I truly believe he placed here on Earth just for me, to let me know he's around me. One of those things was my Magical Memory #7, a pink and red lion from the Hallmark store.

As Valentine's Day was approaching a friend and myself went into a Hallmark store. There staring at us was a pink lion, with a red heart for a mane. Of course, every jungle animal reminded me of Grey, but there was something special about this lion that caught our attention. When we picked it up, it laughed . . . an infectious laugh. And when you pet it's back, it laughed harder. It was like Grey was trying to tell me he was OK, that he is laughing in Heaven.

My friend bought one and I bought one for my mom and one for me. Mine sits on his toy chest in his room. And I swear, every once in a while, out of the blue, I hear it laugh.

He's just letting me know.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day SIx

Day Six brought the other kind of oatmeal, the kind most people think of when you say the word.

The smell of maple & brown sugar oatmeal brings about tons of emotions in me. Last June I was at an in-service for school. It was early in the morning when a dear friend sat down next to me. In a cup was her breakfast. Immediately I smelled it. I must have had some sort of look on my face, because she asked me if I was OK. I just told her that I loved the smell of her oatmeal. It reminded me of Grey. Like I've always said, he gives me signs in the craziest places, just to let me know he's still with me.

I'll never forget the day that Bill tried to feed him grits. He was having none of that, even though they too were maple and brown sugar! Grey always knew what he wanted. And most mornings, it was oatmeal, maple & brown sugar with cinnamon applesauce.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Five

Day five brought "Oatmeal", Grey's favorite monkey. Notice, I still haven't opened day six!

After we had admitted Grey to the hospital, I went down to the gift shop to see if I could find something for him. There sat the monkey. We had called Grey "Monkey" from the time I found out I was pregnant with him. It was perfect!

When Grey saw him, he grinned from ear to ear. He absolutely fell in love with Oatmeal and would have conversations and laugh at him as though he were real. The next morning the nurse came in to ask us what Grey might want to eat for breakfast. Oatmeal, hence the name.

The day Grey died an amazing man, Jay, came from Doeppenschmidt to pick up his body. As he laid Grey down on top of a white sheet on our couch, I began to cry. He looked at me, genuinely broken-hearted too, and asked if Grey had a special stuffed animal I would want him to take with him. Oatmeal. Jay took Oatmeal from me, placed him in Grey's arms, and snuggled them both in his favorite blanket.

Nearly a week later, Grey was to be cremated, along with Oatmeal. Jay had gotten into work a little late. He noticed that Grey was gone, however Oatmeal was still there. He called me and told me that he was supposed to take Grey, but someone (trying to make his day a little less hectic) took Grey for him. He wanted me to know that he had called the crematorium and told them not to proceed until he got there with his monkey. He went on his lunch hour.

And Oatmeal was cremated with Grey.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day Four

Day four brought syrup. It also brought gifts for Saturday and Sunday. Do you know how hard it's going to be for me not to open those early?

The smell of syrup always reminds me of Grey.

Grey would sit forever in his highchair if anything with syrup on it was in front of him. He would pick up a piece of waffle, pancake, French toast, and put it in his mouth. The would suck all the syrup off of it, then spit it out. It became a game between he and Bill. Bill would warn him, "You better not spit that out!" Grey would look at him with those huge, mischievous eyes and the grin that matched, and spit away.

The picture below was taken during one of their interactions.

Today also marks that day that we have spent more time without Grey than with him. He's been gone 11 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days. My heart aches for him. My mind races to find anything else to think about. And . . . December 4th last year was the day we called on Hope Hospice. December 4th was the day we signed Grey's DNR. It's been a rough day.

But today is also the day we'll celebrate Bill's 41st birthday (a day late so more family could make it). Celebrate we will, because life is short but sweet for certain.

As I got in the truck this morning and pulled out of the driveway, my red cardinal flew in front of me. I know he's still here with me.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day Three

First and foremost, I have to wish my husband a HaPpY bIrThDaY! It's been a hard day for him, his first birthday without his baby. However, "Magical Memory" #3 has made it a bit easier for him. Below is a picture of Bill and Grey on Bill's last birthday. Happy Birthday Honey. I love you.

Today's gift - Grey's (and Bill's) favorite desert for Bill's birthday, cheesecake pumpkin pie. We have tons of pictures of Grey from last October through last December with pumpkin pie all over his face. They're so cute that I figured instead of words today, I'd give you the images.

And as before, with the gift came another incredible letter for Bill. Amazing! The letters themselves are better than any present . . . almost. ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day Two

Last year Ry picked out an ornament for Grey. Since his nursery was done in jungle, Riley picked out the only ornament that had a jungle animal. It was a hippopotamus. When you pushed the button it played this really annoying hippopotamus song. Little did I know how dear to me that song would become.

All of us spent hours in front of the Christmas tree, swaying Grey through his last days. He loved to hear that song. When the song would stop, in one way or another, he would let you know he wanted to hear it again.

Sunday, as we put up our Christmas tree, it was one of the first ornaments we put up. As I pushed the button, it was all I could do to not break down in front of the boys. To think that something so small could give him so much joy. To think that still, and always, it brings so many emotions into my soul.

I can see him, in other's arms. I can see him in mine. I can almost feel the weight of that little broken body, and the swaying of mine, as I stroke his hair and kiss his ear. Almost.

Today brought the 2nd edition of the hippo ornament. Apparently, Grey was not the only one who liked it. It reminds me of how a friend paid way too much on eBay for one after Christmas just for a memory of Grey. Others will see this post, and it will take them back too. Back to swaying with my Grey.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Twelve Magical Memories - Day One

Twelve days . . . twelve days until the year anniversary of Grey's death. It seems like yesterday that I smelled his sweet breath.

I have said from the very beginning that I have some incredible friends. It has been those friends that have helped to get me through this whole grieving process. They see in me things that I don't even see. They know what I need, even when I don't.

Today I received the coolest gift from a couple of those friends. It is called "Twelve Magical Memories". I was instructed that I couldn't open it until I left school. It took everything I had and I was so proud that I made it to the truck before tearing into it. In the bag was a note, an incredible note, written by "the mean one", and I say that with tons of affection.

Twelve magical memories, given to me for the next twelve days, each linked to a memory of Grey that makes them smile. Unbelievable! The love for Grey, for me, put into this gift, it left me speechless, in tears, happy tears.

For the next twelve days I'll share these gifts, these memories, with you.

The first gift . . . cinnamon applesauce, his favorite, commonly found all over his face. Grey ate cinnamon applesauce with every meal. For breakfast, if his oatmeal didn't have cinnamon applesauce in it, he'd let me know by pounding his hand on his highchair. It was the last thing he ate.

Cinnamon applesauce . . . when I smell it, I can see him; the joy in his eyes, the smile on his face, mouth wide open like a little bird.

It seems like years since I smelled his sweet breath.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Break

As Thanksgiving approached, I looked forward to the end of "this time last year". Next to Bill's birthday, Thanksgiving was the last holiday that we spent with Grey. A big part of me looks forward to not having to compare everything to last year. But I also know that the three weeks ahead are going to be tough; Dec.3rd-Bill's birthday, Dec. 4th-our last dr's appt. & the day we called Hospice, Dec.12th-the day we lost Grey, and Dec. 18th-Grey's 2nd birthday. I'm so grateful that I have all of you pulling me through.

Wednesday, Ceci and I took Ry to the zoo. We all had a blast! I even got brave enough, only because I was dared by a 6 year old, to feed the birds. I hate birds. They just scare me, their wings and beaks and all. You just never know what they could do.

Thursday, the boys and I celebrated Thanksgiving with Bill's family and then with my dad and step-mom, as Bill had to work. It was nice to be around all my nieces and nephews. But Grey was always at the forefront of my mind. My dad took the boys out in his new Mustang. Instantly he became the coolest grandpa ever! And that's neat for him. I haven't been the best at making sure he gets to spend a lot of time with the boys. I need to do better.

Friday, I had a girls' night out with my sisters-in-law. We had a great time! We went to dinner and saw New Moon (not that great). We all are so busy in our little worlds. It's nice every once in a while to be able to make time for each other. Sometimes I forget just how much they love me and my family. We haven't been the easiest group to be around the past year.

I spent Saturday waiting to be able to go pick up my mom at the airport. Boy did I miss her! This is the first Thanksgiving we haven't spent together in many years. I was glad she got to spend time with my brother and his family though. She needed a break from us, just to be able to get away and not eat, sleep, breath Grey's loss like we do. But having her home is like wrapping yourself in your favorite cozy blanket, like the feeling you get as it rubs up against your cheek and you close your eyes and smile. I don't know how else to describe my relationship with her. She's my everything.

Sunday morning we got up and put a turkey in the oven to celebrate Thanksgiving at home with my mom. As the turkey cooked, Bill, the boys, and I headed to my sister-in-law's for my niece's 3rd birthday. We have pictures of Grey this time last year (see, there it is again) at her 2nd birthday party. They are the last pictures we took of him, taken only 2 weeks before he died. It was really hard to be back there today. Everywhere I looked I saw him. But in his own way, he once again let me know that he was OK. He's so awesome like that!

This evening Mom and Ceci celebrated Thanksgiving with us. There's no Thanksgiving like a Thanksgiving at home, even if it's a few days late. After dinner we put up the Christmas tree and hung the stockings, both of which brought me to tears. I was fine until I found Grey's hippopotamus ornament. I just wanted to touch it, because I knew he had. I know it sounds crazy, but unlike his clothes that I had washed, it was one of the few things that has remained untouched, expect by him. Riley was diligent in hanging Grey's stocking. On the hook also hangs Grey's baby blue "Grey's Gift" bracelet. In his stocking we placed Oatmeal (his monkey). Grey is still so much a part of this season, as he always will be.

Many of you have asked if we are going to do anything on the 12th, and honestly, we've gone back and forth. But today we decided that we would like to open up our house, from 1:00 - 5:00, for those of you that would like to stop by. Nothing fancy, maybe some snacks. However, we will have a small helium tank and balloons so that we can send them up to Grey. Bill, my mom, the boys, and I will be releasing our balloons shortly after 2:00, but balloons will be available throughout the day.

Please keep our family in your thoughts, prayers, energies . . . whatever you do. We'll take all we can get.