It’s been some time, since February actually, that I penned a personal update here. Some friends tell me they read only my personal posts. (Slim pickings this summer.) Others vote with their feet (fingers?) and unsubscribe at the hint of anything other than a recipe. (Ouch.)
Celebrating twenty-four years with this guy!
But to those who read both the personal updates AND recipes? Aww shucks. (I’d send chocolate cake if I could, but you’ll have to settle for cyber kisses and bear hugs.) Thank you.
Where better to grab a snooze than Fenway?
I’ve been meaning to send an update since late summer. I’m glad I didn’t get to it then, because the aftermath of the recent hurricanes helped to shrink my own seemingly difficult summer to size. So many suffering families in TX, FL, surrounding states and the Caribbean. And incredible heroes, often strangers, rising to meet the overwhelming needs.
Valley view from outside our window in Brasov
It’s been quite a journey around here since February and I’m just now Coming Up For Air. You may remember we put our house on the market for sale by owner then, and wow, was that some ride. For those of you who have recently moved or sold your home, you get it. Moving has similarities with child birth. The further out you get from it, the less you remember. This is God’s grace to you. (Also called repression.)
Hudson perked up when we got to the flamingo exhibit at Stone Hill Zoo outside of Boston.
So we put our little cape on the market in late February. We were needing more space and had been in violation of local egress laws for some time. (Our older boys’ bedroom was in the finished basement.) So the house sold within a few weeks to a very dear older couple. And even in a crazy seller’s market, we were able to quickly find a house we loved with more space in the city. But at the eleventh hour, our buyers pulled out. Like a house of cards, with no contract on our house, we lost the beautiful house we had put a contract on. I won’t lie. It was heartbreaking and I lost a few tears. It was the kitchen that was so lovely. You know why I’d be so tempted by a gorgeous kitchen.
Shortly afterwards another couple put a contract on our house. And pulled out a week later. We felt like life-size characters in the whack-a-mole game. Though a little battered by now, we bounced back up and kept showing the house, which was stressful with kids in the house. And then finally in late April, a family put a contract on our house. Baseball season was just beginning and we wondered if it would be a three strikes and you’re out kind of thing. But thankfully, THANKFULLY, the third time was the charm.
Peaceful and quiet, our new home.
After we had a contract on our house, it took some time to find a new house to move to. The market has been pretty insane around here. But we finally did, thank God. Decisions had to be made lightning fast.
So here’s what happened in a nutshell. The day after the kids finished school in early June, we closed and moved to my in-laws about a half hour away. We transferred the contents of our house into storage and the gargantuan finished basement at my in-laws.
Castle Peles in Sinaia, Romania
Less than a week later, Jon, Jacob and I left the country on a missions trip to Romania. It was a wonderful trip. We met so many amazing people and were able to spread Jesus’ love and help Romanian children, teens and adults begin to learn English. The biggest obstacle to my going was what to do with Hudson for those ten days.
Famous clock tower in Sighisoara (Pronounced Siggi- shwara – say that ten times in a row!)
You may remember our youngest, seven-year-old Hudson, who has Down syndrome and likely autism. He has many endearing qualities, but has developed many unusual and repetitive OCD behaviors. It is difficult for him to adapt to different environments. Which does not make him an easy house guest, understatement. (FYI he uses a speech device sparingly and is still in diapers.) But thankfully my gracious brother and sister-in-law were up for the task and welcomed Hudson into their home for ten days.
Even sent us cute phone videos of him having a ball on the trampoline and tossing doggie toys and treats to their four-legged Cooper.
City view of Sighisoara
So we got back from Romania, and a few days later moved from my in-laws into our new house. By now it was the beginning of July. Some of you know I have immune system issues – I’m a strep carrier. Which means when I get run down, the strep attacks and I’ll get strep throat like clockwork. Wouldn’t you know it, I came down with strep throat the weekend of our second move.
The first thing our kind mover friends did was set up a bed in a bedroom so I could crawl in. The whole weekend of the move, I’m in bed with a high fever. I didn’t know yet that I had strep throat, just suspected it. I went to the ER the following day and it was confirmed. So that made for a very crazy move-in weekend.
I will say that I’m blessed with absolutely incredible friends and family. They unpacked my entire kitchen from top to bottom while I lay in bed. They brought a fabulous lunch to my family and all the movers, and provided multiple meals afterwards. It’s a helpless (and humbling) position to be flat on your back in bed while everyone else around you is working hard. FOR YOU! That is true love.
Excited for these two sweet Romanian friends who are getting married soon!
We made the intentional decision to leave non-essentials packed in boxes until the weather starts turning cold. So our basement is still filled with boxes. July and August were filled with camps for Charlie, Explorer Camp at church and out of town company visiting. A few day trips sprinkled in. The older boys had jobs that kept them busy working hard. Our biggest challenge was Hudson, who had no regular routine without school. His autistic behaviors have steadily increased and are unpredictable, so I can no longer take him out by myself. He’s too heavy to carry, often refuses to walk, or tries to run off in parking lots or public places.
That meant a lot of days indoors for me with Hudson this past summer. Examples of his difficult behaviors: taking pictures off the wall and shoving them behind the sofa, pushing a glassful of water off the kitchen counter (think ice water and glass shards everywhere) or emptying cereal boxes onto the floor. He has great fear of water and an obsession with birds and seagulls which made beach trips all but impossible. Understandably, he had a particularly tough time adjusting to being in four different houses in the space of a month. And it took him a few months to be able to go to sleep at night in our new house.
If you’re unfamiliar with autism, it’s a brain development disorder characterized by severe impairment of social interaction and communication often accompanied by repetitive activities and stereotypic behaviors like hand flapping or rocking. Hudson is heading to Boston Children’s soon to get his official autism diagnosis. The dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism is apparently very common. So these have been tougher days, which is why I’ve published very little here this summer. But with Hudson back in the school routine, I hope to pick up where I left off soon.
In the NH mountains with sweet friend Kellie. (Also a blogger, at Gratefully Vintage)
Hudson’s behaviors have pushed us to do a great amount of research about ways we can help him overcome his many fears (water, heights, new people, places, animals and situations.) The good news is we met with a local non-profit agency for several hours earlier this week that helps families with special needs children connect with resources in town. We have mounds of paperwork to fill out, but feel more hopeful than ever.
We’re also looking for a therapy dog for Hudson. A calmer, older dog, maybe three to five years old. A lab or golden retriever or mix. My veterinarian friend Susan in SC suggested a rescue dog. So we’re working with a rescue to pursue finding just the right dog for Hudson. If you’re local and know a dog that might be a good fit, let me know!
And last but not least, a kitchen remodel is on the horizon. We’re in the information gathering stage right now. I’ll keep you posted.
I hope things are going well for you and I’d love to hear what’s going on in your world too. As always, thanks for dropping by!