Sunday, October 16, 2011

"New fends"

When Ethan was born, and we found out about his heart, Jeramie and I were at a loss - to put it simply. We had no idea how to navigate the pediatric ICU world, and definitely didn't know what to do about a baby with a severely broken heart.  I had started this blog when I first found out I was pregnant, and used it off-and-on throughout my pregnancy.  After Ethan's birth, It quickly became a way to disseminate information to family and friends who were desperate to know what was going on with our sweet baby boy; little did I know, an entire world of blogs about babies with broken hearts awaited me.

Sometime after we brought Ethan home from the hospital, I began to read story after story of these children and found myself connecting so deeply with the words of their mamas.  My Google reader exploded with subscriptions and, some nights, I would read into the wee hours of the morning.  I can't tell you where I started first, but one blog led to another and I eventually found my way to the Carter Family. I loved reading about Derrick and felt I had a lot in common with his mama, Shannon.  Ethan and Derrick are about a month apart, so we were traveling similar journeys together, and sharing cute pictures along the way!

A few months ago, Shannon and I started talking about the possibility of getting our families together and it only took two tries to make it happen! Just this past Wednesday, we met up with the Carters for a few hours of fun and I can't tell y'all how wonderful it was.  (I'll try, but I'll also show you lots of pictures to prove it!)


Shannon and I talked as if we had just hung out last week, and our boys (big and little) got along great, too! We started out at Monkey Joe's and watched our babies, with their beautifully broken hearts, jump and bounce with the best of them.  About the time Jeramie commando-rolled out of one of the bounce houses, after Justin (Derrick's daddy) had flipped down a slide, Shannon and I looked at each other and said something along the lines of, "we really need to live closer together!".

I love Derrick's feet in this one!


Jump around

They are a wonderful family and, I'm here to tell you, Derrick is even cuter in person than he is in pictures.  And Jenny Kate?! Lord, have mercy ... those are some beautiful children!

The boys would have bounced right through lunch, but we stopped them in order to head out for some Chick-fil-A, where we spent some more time talking over nuggets and waffle fries.

Mesmerized by Jeramie's disappearing ring trick

Then, we moved the party out to the playground where we finally convinced Ethan and Derrick to sit still long enough for some pictures!

Such handsome boys!

As I hugged Shannon good-bye, I commented on how awkward it felt to say "nice to meet you".  It's as if we've known them for years now, and I couldn't be more thankful.


Of course, we couldn't be as close as we were to Ikea without making a stop.  (Shannon - thanks for convincing me!) It was Jeramie's first time going and I thought he was going to burst with excitement between all the organizational items AND the shopping carts.  As you can see, he and Ethan had lots of fun with those.

I think we made it through the store in record time - upstairs and downstairs in half an hour - and left just in time to visit with family before heading back to Raleigh.

Ethan & MawMaw

Ethan & Auntie Terry the Great (or, "Auntie Terry Grape")


It was an awesome day, spent with some amazing people, and I'm already looking forward to the next time.  As Ethan would say, we most definitely have found some great "new fends"!


The Smith's said...

Two of my fave heart families in action...I love this!

Jen F. said...

A boy can never have too many fends! Glad you had juch a good visit.

Neysa said...

I'm so glad you guys got to meet! I love the Carter family, as well!!!

Stefenie said...

It is amazing when you can make a connection with a heart family and get the chance to meet in person. Jen and I are the same way and although we live so far apart we try as hard as we can to see each other at least a few times throughout the year. Hope you and Shannon get to meet up with the boys again soon!!

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