Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The stars at night, are big and bright.....

Honey and I are both born and raised on Long Island, NY. Naturally we were raised ethnocentric and believed that this was THE place to live, forever. With both of us being exposed to other cities, we always knew that there was something better out there for us, and our children. It's a hard decision to make when your roots are planted, and you have both sets of parents nearby, and even grandparents. The factor that pushed our decicion to move to Houston was Honey's career. He had a great paying job as a charter pilot, but we only saw him about one week a month. He had to have his phone on 24/7, and he missed countless birthdays, holidays, parties, things that he could have been here for if he had any kind of schedule. He made the move to airline pilot last year, and life has been much different for us. We know when he's going to be home, he's not anxious waiting for a call when he is home, and there are rules that are applied to make sure he has adequate rest between flights, something that always concerned me with charter.
We visited friends in Houston last year, and fell in love with it. As soon as our house here sells, we're leaving for TX. I am SO excited to get there. I love the culture, the clean air, the people are SO nice. It's taking longer than we thought to get there, but in reality it should only be delayed by 6-9 months.
One of the funny things about our venture is that nothing ever comes easy for us. We're used to it by now. If Mike is going to catch the flu or Norovirus, it's going to be mid-flight to Austria. If I am going to have a miscarriage, it's going to be on our second day touring Rome. If we want to sell our house, it's going to be in the worst housing market EVER! If Mike wants a long career with this airline, you can bet that oil prices will skyrocket and leave him at risk for furlough. That's the kind of chaos we have here, but we are pretty calm and have learned that this is US, and we just let things roll. But, whatever! Our children are healthy and happy, and we have unlimited support from (most of) our family members.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Beautiful Mind

One of the first things that struck me about Al was his direct stare. We spent the first few days of his life bonding in the hospital, and I remember thinking that I didn't realize newborns could stare at you like that. When they handed him to me in recovery, he stopped crying and his eyes locked onto mine. He was a peaceful baby and all he wanted to do was stare at me and his Daddy. To this day, when I see him looking at something new, I know he's memorizing it, just as he did those first few days.
Over the next few months, he did the typical baby things. A few weeks of minor colic, rolled over at 3 months, smiled and laughed by a month old. He developed infant asthma around 6 months old, and I was so busy learning the ropes of treating him while juggling full time work and daycare, that I didn't pay too much attention to his daycare teachers when they described his play behavior. "Al loves this set of blocks, he arranges them into the same pattern every time he plays! Al loves to spin this toy around, if we don't take him away he'll sit there all day and spin it!"
Around 8-9 months he started to cruise around, and he loved our coffee table. He would place an object on the table, and cruise around the table checking it out from all angles. Once he began walking, he would collect certain toys, usually plain blocks, and arrange them into the ROYGBIV rainbow spectrum. We didn't know for another year that he was using that pattern, until we called to get him evaluated for speech at 2. The first thing the woman noticed was that ROYGBIV, and told us we needed to get him into an autism specialist ASAP. I started to read, and research, and read some more. My mommy instinct was screaming at me not to allow the full 50 hour per week therapy that the state was recommending. I agreed to 6 hours, with the option to increase if needed. I felt I had to let him lead me to what he needed, because through all the confusion and concern about Al not uttering one word, he and I were still communicating, without words, as we had from day one.
We officially had him diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism when he turned 4 years old. He has made amazing progress, and I can't believe that God trusted us with him. Honey and I could barely do our own laundry, and here we were handed this angel and expected to not only raise him, but advocate for him for the rest of his life. He's so peaceful, and super smart, and we are so grateful that he's here:)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Here I go~

I've always said I never understood the point of a blog, but I'm guessing it's something I will understand as time goes on. I surely hope so, because typing out your thoughts is time consuming, and Lord knows I am very short on time these days. More about that later.
A little bit about the main characters I'll be posting about.
Yours truly;) I'm Amanda, daughter of 2 really cool parents who divorced when I was a teenager. I have one brother, a few years younger than I. I was bit by the travel bug at a young age, and spent a few years taking flying lessons, renting a plane with a good friend and cutting school to fly anywhere but NY, and eventually becoming a flight attendant. After 2 years of waitress-in-the-sky, I was laid off, and met
"Honey." He's known as Honey in my Blackberry address book, it's what I call him, and it's a great description. Honey is naturally occuring, great in desserts and soap, and soothes you when you're sick. That's my husband, and he's the best thing that ever happened to me. Of course, until these small people came along:
"Al." He's my first-born, he's 6 now. It took us 2 years and a loss to conceive him, and he's been a joy from his first little cry. He was the type of baby that makes parents immediately feel confident enough to add a sibling, because he made parenting so easy on us. How hard can this parenting thing be? Enter............
"Gem" From the womb, we knew this little firecracker was going to shake things up a bit. First of all, she toyed with us by clamping those little legs closed so we couldn't tell her gender. Then she started making attempts to come early, and early she did. By 2-3 weeks. I think people in the next town heard her screech into the world, and she's still making a statement. While recovering from the shock of Gem, somehow.......
"Simpson" made her way into the world. She's a typical 3rd kid, she has anti-collision avoidance which allows her to naviagate into any situation the older kids are in, and she's been speaking since she turned one. "You are lucky you're adorable!!!" is something we tell her every day:)
We live on Long Island, NY. Not for long, however. We are selling our house and moving to Houston, TX.