A Year Gone By

Good evening to all! I hope you all got out to enjoy the beautiful day! I believe Chris had a conversation with God and said, “This might be a tough week for my family. Do you think we could give them some sunshine to make it a little easier on them?” And God says, “but Chris, they do live in Minnesota and it is tournament time. I usually throw a blizzard at them at this time of year!” But Chris has always been persistant. ” How about this year you just switch things up a little bit. Let’s give them a week of 70 degree temperatures and give them a break! While we’re at it, how about an 80’s hair band reunion? Let’s have Poison, Whitesnake, Def Lepperd, Motley Crue,…….”
Well, at least I haven’t seen any ads for any Ratt, Winger or Warrent. But the nice weather has seemed to put everyone in a good mood.

I’ve gone back and forth on what to post this week. Yes, tomorrow is the first anniversary of the day Chris passed away. The past month has been difficult for us. Even though the boys don’t remember specific dates(other than the day he died), it’s amazing how their sub-conscious seemed to hone in on the time when Chris started taking a turn for the worse. Jaxson has been having horrible nightmares. Brenden has been clinging to me. Neither of the boys really wants to be alone at anytime. They’ve both been moody at times. We’re working through it and they are doing fine. I’m just happy for the good weather because we’ve been able to go outside and play basketball and soccer. It helps keep their minds off things.

The past year has obviously been a year of healing and adjustments. I’m amazed at how far we’ve come. At the same time, I still struggle with both. As I am going through the healing process, I battle the job of being a single parent. I’m sure sometimes Chris looks down from Heaven and just shakes his head. After he died, it seemed we were in shock for a long time. Our minds just didn’t seem to quite accept he was gone. I felt a sort of numb for a long time. I feel like it was about last September or October before the shock finally wore off. We’ve been on a grief rollercoaster since then. But with the grief and pain, we are healing.
We have had some wonderful times in the past year. Our family trip to Colorado the boys still talk about. They want to go back to the mountains. They had fun in Texas. Going up to the North Shore last fall and playing football with their uncles and hiking with their aunts was enjoyed by all. Doing a Baty waterpark getaway was a treat for them. We have kept them busy!
That being said, of course they miss their father. They still talk about playing good guys-bad guys with him. They talk about how he was so good at video games. They remember how much he liked to listen to music. It’s also hard now because of the things they are forgetting.
So, I’m ending this post as I’m getting tired and my sentence structure is surely suffering. Send up a “hello” to Chris, as I know we will all be thinking of him tomorrow. We miss him and send our love to him. The boys and I send up a hug and a kiss to him every night with our prayers.

God Bless to all!

Karen, Brenden & Jaxson



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Quick Update

Just a quick update and “Thank you”! Our dog responded to the antibiotics and seems to be doing better. He is still on medeicine and will hopefully keep doing well. Without a number of tests, the vet doesn’t know exactly what he has/had. So thank you for your prayers and well wishes. It was nice this morning as I was brushing my teeth, to hear Jaxson playing with Komis.(even though Jaxson was suppose to be getting ready for school)! Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes. We really appreciate them!

On a different note, we spent much of last weekend watching Brenden play in his first basketball tournament. His team won the tournament! Brenden was so excited and happy. He had the biggest smile on his face. I was so happy for him. But as happy as I was, my heart was sad that Chris wasn’t there to be a part of the event. It’s times like those that I really feel the hole that Chris left in our lives. He would have been so proud of Brenden. Brenden did a great job on defense and scored a basket in the last 30 seconds. We then hit the Dairy Queen and had our celebratory ice cream. He told me had a great day.

I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day! Give everyone a hug for me! The boys and I will be sending many hugs and kisses up to heaven!



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Womans Best Friend

Greetings. I know I said I was going to blog about lessons learned, but that one will have to wait. Today we learned that our dog is very ill. He was walking kind of strange and I thought he may have hurt himself on some ice or walking on the stairs. I took him in and they did some blood work and found his liver numbers to be off the chart. The vet is running some tests, but things don’t look good. Despite how healthy he looks, she thinks he will probably rapidly decline, although we’re not sure exactly what he has. So, once again, I had to sit down with my children and tell them that someone is dying. Brenden’s doing ok, he and the dog aren’t super close. Jaxson is very upset. He said, “but them we’ll be down to only 3 of us in our house.” I’m, of course, very upset too. Komis has got me through a very difficult year. He’s been my walking/running companion for almost 12 years. Even as I sit and cry because I found out he’s so sick, he sits next to me and tries to comfort me. There’s a sense of security I have when he’s near(for those of you who don’t know, he’s a 60 pound husky.) He is protective of me and the children, but not to the point he growls or bits others. Although, I’m pretty sure he would bite if he felt we were being threatened.
So, I’m asking for some prayers today to heal a dog who holds a special place in our hearts. Or at least a prayer for a little boys whose heart probably be greiving again shortly. Jaxson is currnetly even asking me if it’s ok to touch the dog-he’s so afraid to hurt him. I know it’s just a dog to some, but he’s a part of our family and means alot to us.

Love and Prayers,


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Happy New Year

Ok, yes, I know it’s Jan.24th and it’s been some time since I’ve done a post. I still want to wish eveyone Happy New Year! I’m not a huge resolution person. I’ve noticed that a lot of people forget about their resolutions by the end of January. But still as I begin a new year, I reevaluate my life and think if there’s any changes that I need to make. I also look back and think about different things I learned over the past year. Of course, this past year I have learned more than I wanted in areas I wish I didn’t have to. Life’s lessons, as we all know, are sometimes painful. My next blog I plan on blogging about my 2011 lessons.
My focus, as always, is to spend time with my children and I have been doing just that. Last weekend we went to Wisconsin Dells and stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge. We made a trip there with Chris in June of 2010 right after we found out the cancer had moved to his lungs. My children have some memories of being there with him, and that was nice for them. What I noticed they didn’t remember is the amount of time that Chris had spent in the hotel room on our last trip. That’s a good thing-I want them to remember the fun parts of time spent with their father. They remembered being in the wave pool with him and doing Magicquest(a game) with him. But they seemed to have blocked out that dad had to go back to the room several times a day and nap or rest while we continued to swim or play. Anyway, we made the trip a Baty trip with his dad and siblings and nieces and nephews. We had a great time and my kids were totally worn out at the end of the trip. I’m sure Chris was looking down and smiling at the lot of us swimming in the lap pool, screaming down the howlin’ tornado, and lounging by the pool. I hope we get to do more trips like that.
I’ll post again soon. Out of time now.
Have a great day!


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Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to everyone, near and far! I know I’m a couple of days late, but we’ve kept busy. We had a good Christmas. Of course, we have our sad times missing Chris. I decided this year to do no less than 5 Christmas celebrations-my parents, Chris’s mom and stepdad, Chris’s dad and stepmom, and my 2 extended family Christmas celebrations. Yes, I know-a lot of running. But I really didn’t want the boys and I sitting around the house just missing Chris. I especially did not want to be at our house Christmas morning when it was usually just the four of us-the void is just too big this year. So we stayed at my parents house Christrmas eve. I also, of course, find strength and support in my family and friends, so I surrounded myself with them at this tough time of year. The boys enjoy having everyone around-they are constantly entertained. One of the pastors at our church sent me this poem, and I thought I would share it with you-it helps a little when thinking about Chris and missing him.

I’m Spending Christmas With Jesus This Year
(author unknown)

I see the countless Christmas trees
Around the world below
With tiny lights, like heaven’s stars,
Reflecting in the snow.

The sight is so spectacular,
Please wipe away the tear,
For I’m spending Christmas
With Jesus this year.

I hear many Christmas songs,
That people hold so dear,
But the sounds of music can’t compare
With the Christmas choir up here.

For I have no words to tell you
The joy their voices bring.
For it is beyond description
To hear an angel sing.

I can’t tell you of the splendor,
Or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas,
With our Savior, face to face?

I’ll ask Him to light your spirit
As I tell Him of your love.
So, then, pray one for another
As you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful
And let your spirit sing,
For I’m spending Christmas in heaven
And I’m walking with the King!

Thank you Pastor Pat for sending the poem. Yes, it made me cry, but it touches my heart and reminds me what a wonderful place Chris is in. I hope it lightens your hearts as well. The children and I pray everynight and at the end of the prayer always ask God to give Chris a hug and a kiss for us.

Have a wonderful holiday week!

Seasons Blessings!

Karen, Brenden & Jaxson


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Birthday Memories

Yes folks, today my first born turned 9 years old.  Where did the time go?  I swear yesterday I was changing his diaper and giving him his bottle.  But my little boys who loved Thomas the Train and lived to watch Nemo now is all about DS games, projection clocks, Captain Underwear books, Laser Stunt Chasers and of course, cash and gift cards.  He plays games and constantly calls everyone “Dude!”  So, he is growing up.  He had fun with his friends and family today.  I love seeing the smile on his face as everyone wishes him Happy Birthday and tells him how tall he’s getting.  But of course, I miss that his father isn’t with him to celebrate.  I knew for his birthday he wanted a Vikings jersey.  I asked his Grandpa Baty to get him one.  After everyone left, Brenden tried it on.  The first thing he said was “Dad  would have thought this jersey is sooo cool!  I wish he could be here to see it!”  I told him that I’m sure his dad was looking down from heaven and smiling and probably wearing the same jersey- because in dad’s heaven, the Vikings probably were a good team!  Brenden agreed and ran out to show his Grandpa and Grandma Stratton the jersey-(of course to be told it was the wrong color.)   I know it was a good birthday for him and he had fun, but I know he’s missing his father, as we all are. 

It’s been a tough couple of weeks, as the first Christmas without Chris will be.  We were setting up the Christmas tree and Jaxson found some of Chris’s ornaments.  He burst into tears, which of course sent me into tears.  We had a good cry, then finished putting up the tree.  It’s been a real roller coaster for all of us.  We are looking forward to spending time with family and friends. 

I must get back to my wrapping.  Enjoy the holiday season.  I will post again soon!

Merry Christmas!


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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy belated Thanskgiving to you all. I hope you had a great weekend and spent some quality time with friends and family. The boys and I went to the lake and had Thanksgiving with my parents and my sisters and their familes. We had a good Thanksgiving, but of course we felt Chris’s absence. As everyone knows, the holidays are tough. Tonight Brenden asked me if I could tell him 9 things about his dad-since he’s going to be 9 soon. However, it was bedtime, so I told him that would have to wait for tomorrow. Chris is definitely on their minds lately.
The last two weeks have been tough for Jaxson. He ran into a classmate and got two bloodly lips. Spent some quality time with the nurse at school-who knows him pretty well at this point. At least it’s not the principle! Then later in the week his fish, Diablo died. It was very tough on him. He related it with his father, and was really upset. He then wiped out at school-tore out the knees in his pants. A few other things, but let’s just say it’s a good thing he could get away for the weekend.
The kids are keeping busy. Jaxson’s still doing karate and Brenden started playing basketball. It seems we have something going every night of the week. Brenden is trying to plan his birthday party. Yes, my first born will be 9 years old next month. How did I ever get old enough to have a 9 year old child? Oh, yes- that’s right, I had him when I was 20!
Have a great week! I will try to get back to posting more, if not for you, for me. It’s theraputic for me to sort though my thoughts.

Sweet Dreams!


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