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!
Allie, when you post popped up in my email, I felt all giddy and couldn’t wait to read it! The time we spent together at the wedding was one of my summer highlights. I just adore you and feel so blessed to have met you. I am in awe of how you live your life with such transparency and grace. You are an amazing mom, friend and my favorite blogger. I am praying for Hudson and that you find just the perfect dog. We have a Golden he is an amazing gentle dog!! YOUR NEW HOME IS GORGEOUS!!! I can’t wait to see it ;). Ok, and as I was reading and I got to our picture, I smiled!! & what an honor. I love that picture of us…I believe that God has put you in my life for many reasons! Love you, my friend.
Awww….thank you so much Kellie. You’ve been such a joy and I look forward to spending more time with you soon! Thanks for caring and for your prayers. Love you much! XO
Do you have Canine Companions for Independence in your area? PLEASE contact them if you do. They are phenomenal and will be exactly what the entire family needs.
Dear Suz – I had never heard of Canine Companions for Independence. I have done many google searches regarding finding a special dog for Hudson. I guess it was never the right search or the right time. I googled Canine Companions and was thrilled to see there is a division for the northeast with headquarters in New York. I will definitely be contacting them today, and look forward to seeing if Hudson might be a candidate for one of these wonderful dogs. That would be so wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this info. here. I will let you know what happens. Again, THANK YOU!
Amy Johnson says
Phew! What a year for y’all. Many, many hugs to you and yours, Allie! Love you! xoxo
Many thanks friend, always an adventure, right? Thankful for you and all your gracious help, which has made so much possible on this end. Love you back. XO
Wow! What a summer, dear Allie!
Hopefully, getting back into a routine will help both Hudson and his mama.
You are amazing!
Can’t wait to hear (& see) more about your new home.
Many thanks Carrie – now there’s more room for you for the next house swap! XO
Teri Giese says
Yikes!Just buying and selling homes is the worst!You have had a FULL platter!!?I,enjoy your blog very much,take your time and pace everything.Animals are SO calming to anyone.Will lift you up in my prayers for continued health,strength,and success for your little boy.Little guy is probably so frustrated with all the changes.God Bless ??
Hi Teri – thanks so much for your kind words – I really appreciated hearing from you. And yes – thanks for the pacing reminder. So true. One day at a time, right? Thank you for the prayers – as you can see – they are needed! 🙂
Louise Achor says
Your house is gorgeous!
Thank you so much Aunt Pinkie – I hope you will come and visit someday. We have a guest room now! 🙂
Julie Hipke says
I love BOTH your musings and your recipes 😉 Time to comment on them? Well, that’s more a rarity…sigh.
But this one calls my fingers to the keyboard if only to say…thank you. You continue to model putting one foot in front of the other. Your spirit of HOPE inspires me, your spirit of tenacity amazes me and your spirit of transparency humbles me. All in all…I love you and the way you call yourself and those who “follow” you to keep on keeping on. xoxo J
Thanks friend J, I could never have done this blog without your love, prayers and support. And that’s the truth. Thank for everything, but mostly for being you. Someone I deeply love and cherish. XO
Leslie Deluccia says
As a mother of four boys, I admire how you not only keep pushing forward, but keep finding the silver linings along the way! I also love both your delicious (comforting) recipes, and the very relatable struggles & challenges you face with such grace and humor 🙂 Keep laughing through the tears, Mrs. Taylor, and you and your beautiful family will be just fine. Best wishes in your new home, and with Hudson’s new furry companion. Can’t wait to hear about that adventure!
Leslie – you’re such a sweetie. Love and miss you and all your boys. Men now. Thanks for all the encouragement, friend. Much love to you and yours. Please tell each one hello from Jon and me. XOXO
DAWN TAYLOR says
Such a crazy summer for you guys!! So happy you are settled in your new home. Love you all!
Thanks girl – it’s been quite a summer. Thanks for your part in making the move happen. 🙂 Love ya!
Love reading your update; I’ve missed you, friend! Your new home is beautiful, and I hope to visit! Praying as you navigate these waters with Hudson.
Hi Tina – thank you friend. Miss you too! It’s been too long. I’d love for you to visit. Many thanks for the prayers, needed and appreciated! 🙂
Donna Slayback says
As my Southern grandmother would have said “you have had a lot on your plate”. Glad you found such a beautiful home. I always say they will have to carry me out feet first from this house because I hate moving. Take care.
Thank you very much Donna. It’s funny you say that about carrying you out feet first. I had always said something similar. Then a close friend of mine moved last fall because they needed more space and it started me thinking… why can’t we do that? We need more space. Those fateful words… ha ha. I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before. (We had lived in our previous house since 2004.) We arrived there with two kids and left with four. 🙂 Anyway, it was good to hear from you and I sure hope you don’t have to move anytime soon.
Susie Mandel says
Wow, I knew you were busy but…wow. I don’t know how you do it, Allie–you ARE Wonder Woman! Praying for the perfect dog for Hudson and for that program you’re looking into. God provides and I am trusting Him to do that for you. Love you all so very much!!!
Ha ha. (Does Wonder Woman lose tears and wring her hands as things get super crazy? And lay in bed w/strep throat?) Wonder Woman I am not – just trying to get through each day by God’s grace. That’s for sure. Many thanks for the prayers friend – I’ve got my feelers out in a few diff. organizations for a dog for Hudson. Love to all – miss you guys. Hope the sabbatical is going well for J. XO
Pam Cropper-Vice says
I loved reading your blog. You have such a precious spirit. I look forward to reading your posts. May God richly bless you and your family and your beautiful new home!
Pam – thank you SO much for these very kind, gracious words. It means a great deal to hear from you, especially because we’ve never met. Thank you! XO
Karla Holley | Small Town Rambler says
Allie, it’s good to see you again! What a whirlwind! I’m happy to hear the third time was the charm and you sold your house. I’m sorry thing have been so difficult and it’s heartbreaking when your child is going through that- from one parent of a child with multiple disabilities to another. It takes everything you have to deal with that and I can see how the blog just had to go to the back burner. My prayers are with you, Allie! I hope you get the answers you need at Boston Children’s hospital and that you get the services Hudson needs.
Dear Karla – Thank you. It is so good to hear from you. It was one of our conversations a while back that sparked me towards getting more help for our family. Some days you just have to get through. You know all about that. It looks hopeful we will get some help, though we may have to go on a waiting list for a while. Thanks for all the prayers. We were denied initially by the secondary insurance company for Hudson to be part of the Downs/autism clinic they have at Boston Children’s, but we are still waiting to hear back from the primary insurance. xo
Yvonne Jensen says
I have followed you for over a year now and I enjoy your stories about your family and I especially enjoy your recipes. I feel like I know you even though I’ve never met you and we live on opposite ends of the country as I live in San Diego however the East Coast has always been my love and my draw to move there. You have the sweetest family and you and your husband are such awesome people I’m so happy that your life is so awesome even with all the trials and tribulations you are wasting to rise above take care and keep posting as I truly enjoy everything you post
Hi Yvonne – Thanks so much for your kind words. I especially love hearing from readers I haven’t met yet. It somehow shrinks the world, makes it a more wonderful place and warms my heart. It’s fun to think of you reading about my little life here while you are in SD. San Diego is lovely too, I went to a conference there with a friend a few years ago. But New England will always have my heart and soul. We lived in the south for many years and really did love that too – met so many great friends. But we returned here in 2004 and there’s just something about New England. The coastline, the unpredictable weather, the eclectic people. It’s just such an interesting and beautiful place to live. Thanks for sharing our joy about the house and your encouraging words too. You’re a sweetheart, I hope we meet some day.
Sallie Eisengrein says
Thank you for the update! Love your family! ❤️❤️
Sallie – SO GOOD to hear from you. I see pics of your adorable grands from time to time on FB and am reminded of the many wonderful times we have spent together with your family throughout the years. So many great memories. We miss our SC friends. We now have a guest room and would very much welcome a visit if you and Mark ever make your way north. Jac and Susie stayed with us last year and what a joy it was to catch up. XO
Dear Allie! Happy to see you again! You look great in the pictures ! You made a lot of things, moving, celebrating…is all about life finally! Your new home looks so nice. Congratulations as well for your wedding anniversary! Send you lots of love! xo
Shashi at Savory Spin says
I’m so glad I stopped by today – I LOVE your personal posts (as well as your recipe ones) – I went to Phoenix recently and had the honor of spending a morning at SARRC (Southwest Autism Research and resource center) and for some reason, you and Hudson popped into my head – so I’m hoping Boston Children’s can help y’all with all that y’all need for Hudson. You mentioned he’s using his speech devise sparingly – is he using it anymore now that y’all have been in the new house a little bit longer?
Congrats on 25 years, gorgeous Allie! Btw – I’m not surprised in the least bit to hear your friends unpacked and helped ya out during the move – cos you are such a beautiful soul, my friend!
I’m glad you finally wrote about the craziness of selling and buying – am in the midst of it NOW – it’s insane – but God always seems to have it figured out (at least way, way better than I have) and will definitely guide us where we need to be.
So awesome to catch up with you – I wish you well with Hudson and in the process I hope you are enjoying your new digs and cannot wait to hear more about that kitchen remodel! Catch up soon dear friend! XOXO
Oh, my gosh, what a summer!! And you still look gorgeous despite all the craziness. I’m one who loves your recipes and your personal posts. We’ll be going through a kitchen remodel in the next few months, so we can commiserate as food bloggers without ovens, counters, sinks! I’ll keep you guys and Hudson in my prayers. Hope you find some strategies that work well for him. xoxo
Hi Allie, Congratulations on your 24th wedding anniversary (such a beautiful couple!), surviving your crazy-busy summer (and move(s), and YOUR NEW HOME! Awesome photos, and thanks for sharing all the details!! I hope you can rest a bit and enjoy autumn!!!! 🙂 Also, look forward to hearing about Hudson’s therapy dog… that is sooooo cool! Praying this will be a blessing for your whole family.
I came across your blog quite by accident. I also have a child with Down Syndrome and autism, and one with “ just” autism. The days are long; I know. My kids are now 33 and 32. Hang in there.
Hi Barbara – I’m so glad you happened on my site. Thank you for your kind message. It’s amazing what a comfort it was to hear from you, and that we’re not alone with this double diagnosis for Hudson. I can imagine the days are long. Something interesting you don’t know, is that my older sister Elisabeth has Down syndrome. Her diagnosis and Hudson’s for Downs are both considered random, not genetic. Go figure, right? 🙂 Anyway, wanted to let you know the good news that we were able to get an appointment for Hudson at the Downs’ clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital at the end of October. Apparently they specialize in working with children who have this double diagnosis of autism and Downs. We’re hoping to learn much, techniques and hopefully local resources to help get us through our days better. Also, we finally found a rescue dog for Hudson. Her name is Chloe, she is a five year old yellow lab rescue dog, very sweet and gentle. We are picking her up tomorrow. I know Hudson won’t welcome her initially, but I’m hoping that in time an attachment will form. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, you are so much further along in all this and so I especially appreciate each word. Thank you. XO
That sounds like quite a stressful summer, but I am glad that you finally found your house. I love the pictures from Romania, I have been to Sighisoara at least 5-6 times my youth always to the Medieval Festival and twice to Bran Castle, the pics make me nostalgic.
Karen (Back Road Journal) says
My heart goes out to your family during the trying months you have had but hopefully as each month passes life will get a little easier in your new home. Thank goodness for such wonderful family and friends you have for support. Are you still in New Hampshire?
Dear Allie, you’ve been on mind for some time now. I’ve missed you, dear friend! It certainly sounds like quite an eventful summer but with the weather cooling and the school season in full swing, I hope getting back into a set routine has helped. I am so happy you had a such a fulfilling and wonderful trip abroad…Romania is beautiful!
I am keeping you and Hudson and the whole family in my prayers. Sending you love and warm hugs…I look forward to your next update. XOXO
Hi Allie, I was looking for soup recipes and came across your blog. God blesses me in so many unexpected ways and just reading about you and your family has really blessed me. You and your family are very special people. The Lord has given you one of His very precious children to love and care for. He knows you want the best for him. So happy we have a God that cares about us and loves us so much that He sent His son to
die for us. I’m sure Hudson will eventually love this soft furry friend .
Just love the way you have shared your life with us. May God bless you and your family and give you wisdom and patience in all that you do. Enjoy your lovely home, it is beautiful.
Dear Ginny, I got teary reading your gracious words late last night. Thank you for the kindness and encouragement. Funny how it all came of soup – definitely unexpected! (I knew I liked soup…) So glad you dropped by and hope you found a soup recipe to fill your pot while you were here!:) My family and I have so much to be thankful for, truly our cups brim with God’s blessings. Thank you for your kind, affirming words re:Hudson. Life with Hudson has many challenges, but he is often the one God uses most to grow and stretch the rest of us. Many thanks for dropping by, and may God bless you and your family. XO
Christy Stansbury says
I have missed your posts, culinary AND personal. Came back today looking for Thanksgiving dinner inspiration. I found what I needed, though not what I expected. It was not a recipe that I found, but rather a renewed perspective and sense of gratitude.
(((Hugs))) dear friend. At 23, we are starting to see some “quirky” behaviors with Jacob. Though we will never get a diagnosis at this age, it definitely changes my approach to how we deal with those behaviors. So glad to see, in previous comments, that you have found a furry companion. Praying that you will see positive results and that your little man adjusts quickly. Praying also for timely and productive appointments with the specialist. What a blessing to have such a great resource nearby! It is definitely a journey that we are on – longer and a bit more challenging than most. Praying that you would sense His guidance and sustaining hand at every step.
Wishing you abundant blessings and joyful hearts during this holiday season.
Linda Jenkins says
Hi Allie, Sorry to say that I missed this first post. With school this year, I am lucky to check this once a week. I have to say that if I didn’t know what was going on, I would feel that you were in control of all facets of your life. What I love is through each of those difficult times you shine so brightly and encourage us around you. I know you are an inspiration to me. Because of you and Jon, I see God’s footsteps beside my own, and I feel such a sense of peace and serenity. I don’t plan to teach next year. I want to follow your lead and be more involved in the church. God puts many angels in our path, and you are mine.