Monday, June 20, 2016

Nine, Nine Times

I cannot read the past years' letters to Karter, only write todays.  If I look too far back, I begin to devolve into a slobbery mess of tissues and tears.  Welcome, thank you for reading it means the world.

Dear Karter,

Happy 9th Birthday to You!  Nine times of birthday wishes.  Nine times of taking time out of my day to share You with the world.  You are worth every single word and so many more.  I love you.  We love you.

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Last night your Middle Brother and I noticed a large amount of lightning bugs a float in our back yard.  We haven't seen many here, until last night.  It was a whimsical time of prancing through the yard on the hunt for lightning bugs.  With mason jar in hand Middle Brother tried so very hard to make a catch.  The sun had set long before so we were going on the last few minutes of dusk.  We had fun.  One of those rare occurrences in life where he and I got to do something "outdoorsy" and succeed at it.  Our powers combined we caught one lightning bug!  It was so tiny.  Middle Brother sat and watched it in awe.  I watched him in awe.  Then outside I got real sad, really quick.  Why, and why now?

The answer was about as blunt as a dump truck slamming into another dump truck, head on, full speed.  Boom.

Karter, I just wished you were right there with Middle Brother attempting to catch those lightning bugs.  Running though the yard, giggling, not caring about the dark of night.  Maybe you were there.  I can only hope, even if we can't see you maybe that why we finally caught one.

I've looked up a couple things on lightning bugs.  They use their ability to flash to communicate with others and potential mates.  They have bioluminescence in their bodies, which they can light up at will.  How?  Well that part is thought to be due to oxygen.  Like breathing in or allowing it in some way.  This last line got me when I read it...

"No oxygen, no light..."

Queue those tears because mine are a flowing.  Your voice floods through my ears.  Your beautiful little nose, tiny little fingers and toes.  A kiss of both hello and goodbye.  I really wasn't hoping it'd be a kiss for both.  If I could've jumped off that operating table just to hold you longer, I would've.  Your voice was so crystal clear, for a tiny bit.  Yet like the lightning bug - no oxygen, no light.

If my magic wand were working you'd be here to help us find lightning bugs tonight.  I'd be making you a cake with the number 9 candle, serving your favorite ice cream, and dinner menu of your choice.  A few gifts.  A birthday celebration that we won't be having, tonight.  or ever.

My Dear Littlest Son, Karter, I love you.  We love you.  Watch us grow this year.  Keep Daddy safe as always.  Help your Big Brothers make good choices and put effort into the work they do.  If you can, help my body to stop revolting against itself.  I know you will be waiting, watching, maybe we are your lightning bugs... Maybe that's how you see us.  If so, that's ok by me because I know what you are seeing is beauty, love, serenity.

I truly dislike this conclusion part of the letter.  I love you Karter, We love you.  Everyday.  Forever.  Thanks for coming into our lives with a voice not forgotten.  Happy 9th Birthday.  One year to double digits.  I cannot believe how quickly time passes as we age.  No matter what, no matter how many birthdays I write to you, you are still that intensely voiced little human being who was just, plainly, too bad ass for this world.  So, until we meet again on that World of Bad Asses, I love you.  I love you.  I love you Karter.  We love you Karter.  Happy 9th Birthday!

Lightning Bug Article - If you feel like reading about them.

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Precious

Meanwhile in Kansas...

It was this past Christmas and Smart Husband really, really wanted to buy me a new, shinier, bigger rocked, wedding set.  I had been hearing before this though that this is what I deserved.  I just am a Momma and Wife, always putting the Hubs and Sons ahead of myself.  Days, weeks, months crept by with a wisp of winter and hope of spring.  Then I relented.

OG engagement ring in box.
Backstory, it was hot summer back in whatever year it was we first crept onto the scene as a pair.  He was leaving for Iraq, I was not.  We were dirt poor, love rich.  We both had emerald Ford Escorts with the combined mileage of roughly one million miles.  Basically the engagement ring was worth a whopping 25 to 30 cents total, love rich.  I think that it was entirely assembled from found bits on the ground and a grocery store vending machine.  It's priceless now.  It's traveled a few of those million miles and still resides with us at our home.

The wedding ring, circa 2004,  my husband let me pick out was so beautiful to me.  White gold and princess cuts.   Later that year he picked the wedding band to go with.  Perfectly mismatched.  I loved it but he always wanted a bigger stone for me.  Fast forward to him seeing a few PFC's wives with mortgages on their finger and still telling me that I deserved a bigger ring.

The ring my husband initially showed me was at a big box type jewelry store at a hefty price of $7000.  SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS.  Ah, no Momma's got groceries to buy, a house to keep up, two boys who eat and grow and need things like you know dental visits... the ring idea was just too self centered for me.  However, we discussed the possibility of a custom ring and it being a possibility IF a good price was attainable.

Being from a former small business owner's family, have friends with their own business, and my small time small dollar producing furniture restoration business I know the value of the dollar.  I wanted to use a small business, local if possible.  I knew I didn't want the status quo or a safe, normal ring created.  A google search and a few positive reviews later I arrived at Vernon's Custom Jewelry, LLC in Junction City, Kansas.

First sketch.
From moment one I was treated with respect and was given a variety of options.  Of course, me and my complicated self couldn't find anything in their store to buy.  When I mentioned the possibility of a custom piece the Store Owner Chris, sat down with me and discussed options.  He drew a sketch of something he thought I may like based upon what I'd told him I thought I wanted.  I was there maybe and hour and left with a sketch to take home to Smart Husband.

Smart Husband and I mulled over the options.  Thought a bit and he countered with a drawing of his own. Masterfully creating a ring of the stones we had bought, been gifted, and inherited.  Stones hundreds of thousands of years old and from half way across the globe. Love rich.  This was what we took back to the Jeweler.
Blueprint by Smart Husband!

From the Smart Husband sketch the Jeweler sent measurements of all of the stones, this approximate sketch, and all other technical specs off to a CAD company.  This took a large chunk of time but it was worth it when we saw the CAD model.  Super unique, again love rich.  We gave the "ok" to go ahead with casting the ring!

CAD work of up the Precious.

Once the ring was cast the rest was history.  Ok, not exactly that quick.  Chris, the Jeweler, had never seen a "princess cut halo" let alone ever assembled one.  Have we seen this type of halo since?  Nope, but we're willing to start the trend!  After hard work and dedication the Jeweler worked his magic and master his craft.  The precious was done.
Sides are set.  So close!
Love rich, Smart Husband and I ran uptown to see the amalgamation of not only metal and precious stones but love and time.  Stones from Grandparents, Parents, In-laws, my Husband.  Love rich, the Precious was done and it is BEAUTIFUL!  We cannot say thank you and give high enough praise to the Jeweler.
Too Smart has her ring!
If you happen to be love rich, time rich, thought rich, and would like to dream up your own custom piece, do so.  The sky is the limit especially with the best Jeweler in the land!  Fly in, road trip, send your items, whatever the case please consider Vernon's Custom Jewelry, LLC in Junction City Kansas to make your vision a reality.  If it's not custom then they have lots of awesome items that may be what you need.

Vernon's Custom Jewelry, LLC
716 N. Washington St.
Junction City, KS  66441
(785) 223-5999

Vernon's Custom Jewelry Website
Vernon's Custom Jewelry Facebook Page
Close up of the Precious. Thank you!
--Thank you to my Husband, my Parents, Grandparents, In Laws, and to the Jeweler.  With out you, your love, your contributions this would still be a dream.