Thursday, July 31, 2014

TBT: Special Birthday Edition

Today is a special day!
Happy 13th Birthday, Peter!

It's hard to believe that it's been 13 years since Peter's arrival into our family.
In the hospital with my dad and 2 very proud big brothers!

Our family....2001 style!  Poor Sarah, surrounded by all that testosterone!

All 8lbs. 11oz of cute, snuggly baby!
Size wise, he is our 4th biggest baby:
Andrew 9lb8oz, Kate 9lbs1oz, Ellen 8lbs15.5oz 
Life with Peter has always been challenging.  There was lots of tummy trouble/sleepless nights because he had undiagnosed food allergies.  He also had unrecognized vaccine reactions.  

As he grew, life with Peter continued to be hard.  His lack of speech created a whole world of worry for us that was, unfortunately, not something he would quickly outgrow. There have been lots of difficult  moments since Peter's diagnosis of Autism at 2 years and 3 months.  Raising a  Special needs child is really hard and challenging!  It's like having all the difficult phases of "neurotypical" toddler last forever...not easy!  

Having a child with special needs destroyed any sense of having "the perfectly put together family" I may have held onto after losing a baby.  Peter's diagnosis plunged us into a whole new world!

Having a special needs child has made us appreciate in a much deeper way the milestones that Peter meets.  When your five year old barely speaks and isn't potty trained and you have no idea if he ever will, any and all gains take on a whole new meaning!  We have been blessed that Peter speaks enough to tell us his needs and let us into his world a little, is potty trained(around 7), show a lot of affect, and still continues to make new gains each and every year!

Because of Peter, we have learned to appreciate the milestones of our younger children in a whole new way.  As Ellie, Luke and Kate all hit certain benchmarks....eye contact, pointing, babbling, first words, understanding directions, etc.....we could breathe a huge sigh of relief!

Having Peter has taught all of us a lot!  Raising Peter is a privilege.  Peter is not just a diagnosis. Peter is his very own person....a giant goofball who is filled with silliness and love and affection!

Peter is a boy who loves Disney World.....and Southwest airlines, because that's the airline we fly when we go to Disney!  In fact, when we asked Peter what he wanted for his birthday he answered, "Southwest Airplane t-shirt".  (And since Peter doesn't ever ask for much, that's what he got!)

Peter loves spending time with his Pa who takes him on rides to Fairhaven and makes him special desserts...

...and going to Martha's Vineyard!

Look at the face he made on the ferry two weeks ago after he asked me to take his picture!  He loves it!

Happy Birthday, Peter!  You are an extra special not-so-little boy and we love you very much!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Easing into Monday

Happy Monday, everyone!  We had a half crazy/half relaxed weekend.  On Saturday, we traveled to western MA to attend a family reunion for Jay's father's side of the family.  It was great weather and everyone had a great time catching up with some of their favorite aunts, uncles and cousins.  The highlight for Jay is always seeing his grandfather, who just turned 94!(I think! might be 93.  I always get the age of his grandfather and my grandfather confused!  Either way, it's a blessing they're still with us and both are still very mobile!)

There were some really great family trees that people had put together.  The kids really enjoyed hearing some stories about their great-great grandparents.  Most of my kids are history buffs and really enjoy learning about their heritage.

On the way home, we made a spontaneous stop at Patriot Place and went out for dinner at Red Robin.  We don't actually go out for dinner at a restaurant very often....and we love to go to Patriot Place.  I was hoping to go to Bass Pro Shop because it's a fun place to look around, but it was late and Jay was really tired so we will have to plan another outing soon!
Gotta love mid-chew shots!

Andrew hid behind his milkshake!

On a totally unrelated note......

So have you heard that Coke has a new promotion...."Share a Coke Campaign"?  The bottles have people's names on them...lots of different ones to choose from!  It's supposed to inspire people to buy their own name and the name of their friend(or sibling:).  In our case, Andrew bought a coke for Jon, who posed for me with the Coke made "just for him"!   
Of course, the advertising ploy didn't completely work because Andrew said he saw bottles with Sarah, Luke, Peter and Kate in the case all together, and one with Mike in another case, but didn't buy them.  Someone is playing favorites, meethinks!;)
Andrew wouldn't pose with the Coke with his I took a sneak shot anyway!  Take that, Andrew!
Looking handsome in his Stop and Shop uniform!

Well, that's all for now.  Hoping to have a mostly laid back week!  My friend, Colleen, is treating me to a pedicure on Wednesday.(Can't wait!)

Our biggest day of the week will be Thursday, which is Peter's 13th birthday!  Another teenager in the house!  He is very excited about it and keeps mentioning it:)  (Luke keeps mentioning it, too, because his birthday is exactly one week after Peter's so he wants Peter's birthday to be over so his birthday countdown can begin!)

I hope your Monday is a smooth transition into the last week of July!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekend Memories

#1:  He Said
While on the Vineyard, we frequented our favorite ice cream spot, Ben and Bill's.  They have really great ice cream!  In particular, Jay loves their Bailey's ice cream and that's the only place we've found it so far!
At one of our visits, (yes, I said one bc we went every day...don't judge me:), I was perusing the menu, ( 50 cent word of the day! Makes me feel like a grown up for all the toddler talk I speak), 
and I noticed that they had vegan chocolate ice cream on the menu.....

Me:  Hey, they have vegan chocolate ice cream.  I wonder what it's made of?
Jon: Sadness and crushed dreams!

I managed to upload the pics from our Vineyard trip last weekend.  I can put all of our pics into a few different categories!  WARNING....I have quite a few!  But stick with me until the end to see a few of my absolute favorites!:)
#2:  Ice Cream Shots
One of our first stops after stepping off of the ferry!  Ben and Bill's:)

One of the few foods we let Peter "cheat" with on his gfcf diet.

My parents with Luke.

Kate crying over wanting cookie dough....failing to realize that cookie dough is what is in her cone!
It was past her bedtime!

ice cream day 2

#3:  "Up Island"
When we go to the Vineyard each year we tend to do the same things....and many of them involve food!  One of the places that we always go is to Menemsha, a little fishing village in the town of Chilmark.  We always order crab dip and crackers, steamers, and lobsters from a little fish market called Larsen's.  They cook the lobsters and steamers while you wait.  There are no real tables....just crates and lobster pots outside that people use to make their own make shift seating. 

For those non-seafood lovers in our family, right up the hill is a place called "The Bite" where we order chicken fingers, french fries and a few chowders.
Mom and Kate
Add caption

walking on the docks

Daddy and Luke

Peter decided to try to eat lobster...unfortunately he took a bite of the shell!!!

action shot!

me and Jon
Mike and Jon being goofy!

my parents

Jon and Luke....who was attached to Jon at the hip all.weekend.long!

#4:  Beach pics

Jay tormenting Jon!

...then Sarah!

Someone was a little sleepy and then promptly fell asleep in the car on the way back from the beach!

#5:  Flying Horses
The Vineyard is home to one of the country's oldest carousels.  It's one of those carousels that you grab rings and, if you get the gold ring at the end, you get a free ride!  Our kids were super lucky this weekend.  On the first night we were there, Sarah and Kate got the gold ring.(no camera that time!)  Then, the next day, Luke was the lucky one...extra lucky since this time I was ready!


Holding his free ride ticket!

#6:  Waxing Poetic

For about twenty minutes, this was the scene that I got to watch.  All of my kids, sans Andrew, who didn't join us on the Vineyard until later on Saturday bc of work, and Kate, who was playing in the sand right next to me, were in the water playing frisbee. They were all having fun...there was no fighting...and it was just one of those really blissful family moments that you just want to soak in and enjoy.  

#7:  My Favorites!
Still with me?!?  I hope the following pics make it worth the wait!!!

Have a great weekend!