Monday, November 28, 2011

The Holidays Have Begun

Wow! It's so hard to believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone already. There are days that seem to drag by in extreme slow motion, like I'm trapped in a time dilation field. Other days fly by so quickly, I wonder what happened.

This past couple of weeks has seemed to fly by. We took a mini-vacation from Nov. 16 - 20. We drove down to Florida to visit my Nana, who turned 90 on the 19th. It was our first major road trip without Caleb. It was so strange not hearing him in the back seat. He would make funny faces and send Caden into fits of laughter, which, of course, caused us to laugh as well.  This time, we used a DVD player to keep Caden occupied. We also drove at night as much as we could, so he would sleep through most of the drive time. What was originally planned as a 20 hour trip down turned into 29 hours from the time we left the house until we checked in at the hotel. That wasn't all driving time, thank goodness. We stopped at Mom & Dad's house to pick them up and stayed there for about an hour. We had several gas and bathroom breaks and stopped for a couple hours in Wildwood, Florida.

Dad wanted to go to 75 Chrome Shop in Wildwood to pick up something for his truck. While we were there, I noticed several custom mirrored tags. I got to wondering if they could make a Team Caleb tag for me. I borrowed Mom's Team Caleb tote bag & headed to the back of the shop to talk to Mike. After looking at the tote bag, it was determined that a Team Caleb tag could be made, but it wouldn't look exactly like the original logo. Mike made up a draft for us & it looked fantastic! As soon as Mom found out what we were doing, she decided she wanted one for herself. Mike told us it would take about 30 minutes for each tag, so we went to breakfast. When we got back to the shop, Mike was almost done with the tags. We asked if he could save the template, because we figured that some of our friends and family might want one once they saw it. He gave us a few business cards and said to have them ask for the "Team Caleb" custom mirrored tag. It cost about $35 and was well worth every penny!

I have yet to be able to take a picture that does this justice!
After we left 75 Chrome Shop, we headed down to Vero Beach, FL. Caden couldn't wait to go to the beach, but it was dark when we arrived. On Friday morning, we got dressed to go to the beach. It was Caden's first time seeing the ocean and playing on a REAL beach. (Sorry, Little Elm, but I don't consider the man-made beach on the lake at the park to be a real beach.) We drove down to Jensen Beach so I could meet a friend (Misty) from near West Palm Beach. When we got out of the van in Jensen Beach, it was sprinkling, very windy & did NOT feel like the 74 degrees the weather channel said it was supposed to be!!!!!

We ate lunch at Subway, then headed across the street to the park & beach. As we walked toward the water, we already knew we would not let Caden in the water because of how cold it was, and the red flag on the lifeguard station confirmed our decision. Standing at the top of the sand dune, we watched 8 - 10 foot swells roaring towards the shore. The wind was blowing so fiercely that sand hitting our bare legs felt like tiny needles piercing our skin. Caden immediately hid behind me. There was no way he was sitting on the beach to play there, so we headed to the other side of the sand dune and let it block the wind for us. He sat and happily played on the beach for almost an hour.

We got back home around 2am on the 21st. We washed everything and repacked in anticipation of heading to Gma's house for Thanksgiving weekend. We drove down Wednesday night, had a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch with family and enjoyed watching all the cousins interacting with each other.

Black Friday brought a wide range of emotions. I wasn't really into all the shopping and would much rather have not gone out at all. However, we decided to have an impromptu birthday party for Caden (11/27) and Emmanuel (12/10) that day. I think the plan was to help keep my mind off the fact that Friday, November 25, 2011, marked exactly 8 months that Caleb's been gone. It helped a little, but I couldn't help thinking about it. Especially since Caden has discovered Toy Story and the whole Buzz Lightyear "To Infinity & Beyond" phrase. When Caden first started repeating it, he'd say, "Buzz Lightyear, 1, 2, 3 & beyond!" He didn't quite understand the words until I told him. Of course, each time he said, "1, 2, 3 & beyond" he was leaping onto or off of something. I caught him standing on a bar stool and leaping OVER the couch one time. My heart jumped right into my throat!!! As soon as he safely landed, I informed him of the negative consequences of doing that again.

We decided on a Toy Story theme for the boys and off we went to brave the crowds at Wal-Mart. I managed to snag the last Buzz Lightyear they had on the shelf for Caden & picked up a mini-RC with Woody for Emman. They LOVED their gifts. Caden has barely set Buzz down since he got it. He wants Buzz to sleep with him, go to the bathroom with him, go in the van with us every time we leave, etc. If he only knew how much I want to cry every time I hear him say "To infinity and beyond."  I'm getting better because I know it's not fair to deny him something he likes just because it's hard for me. I laugh and smile with him as he plays.

We had a very quiet celebration after church on Sunday for Caden's 3rd birthday -- just Richard, Caden and me. We watched some football, took naps, played with toys and went to bed. Today was Caden's well-child visit. He's right on target for both height & weight (50th percentile). Doc seems impressed with Caden's vocabulary and the number of words he knows. Our only concerns are Caden's allergies (which we knew he would probably have based on family history), he's still banging his head when tired and we're now dealing with night terrors again. He had them as an infant and they had gone away. We think they are back because of grief. Caden mentions at least once a day how much he misses his brother & that he's sad. The good news is that Caden doesn't even remember them. The bad news is the night terrors really freak Mommy out when there's nothing I can do to keep it from happening or to stop them. All I can do is try to keep him from hurting himself during it.

I've decided to try my hand at blogging in a different direction thanks to my friend, Staci. I'll keep this blog for updates on family stuff and have started a new blog for my new blogging venture. Check it out --  Always In His Heart

Caleb is always in our hearts and is loved today, tomorrow, in ALL ways to infinity and beyond.
Angel, Richard & Caden


  1. It was SUCH a pleasure to meet you and your loving family! Poor little Caden and his night terrors. Hopefully he'll outgrow them quickly. Be sure to give him a BIG hug from Miss Misty. You're always in my thoughts and prayers hon.

    Lots of Love,


  2. Angela, Thank you for sharing Caleb's story and this link on my blog. I have a friend who's son was dx with a brain tumor with spinal involvement in 2007. It's been a long, difficult road, that continues to take twists & turns. My prayers are for you and your family, and all the other children & families out there struggling with this dx. Take care.

  3. It is very brave of you to share your family's story. I just wanted to share that my son has night terrors as well. I came across this website,, which offers a lot of good information about helping deal with sleep disorders. I hope this is helpful. I wish the best for your family and hope that you all have a brighter future!