Saturday, April 16, 2011

Happy 9th Birthday to my little man!!!!

Holden Christopher
3:02 AM on 4/16/02
6lbs 1oz, 18 1/2in long

Yes, I'm seriously not kidding, the boys' birthdays indeed are only two days apart. It's hard to imagine that ^that^ tiny little newborn, is my now, 9yo handsome young man. Holden was very planned and very much wanted. We wanted to have two children, approx 2-3years apart. We however, didn't realize it would have been so close to our plan of 2-3years apart.

Literally, exactly 9 years ago at this moment (1:00am EST), we were on the phone calling our families because my water had just broke around 12:30am. We figured that David's parents would leave (we lived in Northern VA at the time) once we got to the hospital and checked in. Well, what we didn't plan on, was for me to go and have Holden 2.5hours after my water broke. The next phone call any of the family got, was after Holden had already been born, 3.5weeks early no less! He's been like that ever since.... fast and never stops moving!!! >:)

First smile caught on camera - 3weeks
He's been a handful ever since! ;) Mischievious and a bundle full of energy who never stops talking (seriously, he started talking in sentences in 18months). He picked up on things very quickly and knew his ABCs (sight and sounds for both upper and lowercase), shapes, colors and could count to 20 by the time he was 2years old.

18months old
Halloween '03 (2.5yrs)
When he turned 3, he was reciting his address, phone number, date of birth and could say the "Pledge of Allegiance" and could sing the "Star Spangled Banner"! (remember, I SAID he was a handful! hehe) He started preschool the fall after his 3rd birthday and learned so much. He was a reverse-mainstreamed student in a special ed preschool program. Because of having an older brother with Autism, he was a perfect role model as he was smart, out-going, verbally precocious and well, he was very sweet with the special needs kids in his classroom. He greatly enjoyed preschool but wanted more!

Holden with friends Andrew & Tori (age 3.5yrs)
When Holden was in kindergarten, it became apparent there might be some issues going on. However, we didn't get a diagnosis until half-way through his 1st grade year, ADHD. He was starting to struggle in school and his self-esteem was quickly eroding. Plus, he had become this quiet little boy, except for when he couldn't contain himself and his impulses. However, with meds he started to do better!

Halloween '06 (4.5yrs old)

Norfolk Zoo - Aug '07 (5.5yrs old)

April '08 - Birthday Party (6yrs old)

April '09 (7yrs old)

Camping Trip July '10 (8yrs old)

SPRING 2011 - 9 Years Old
He's now in 3rd grade and is doing exceptionally well. His most recent report card was A, A-, B+ and another B+! AWESOME JOB Dude!! We're SO proud of him!! He enjoys playing soccer, wrestling and loves to run. He also loves to read, but I would dare say, his favorite things to do is play video games! Pokemon ones in particular. :) He's just recently wrapped up his 2nd full year of wrestling and has moved onto soccer for the spring. He's very active and loves being outside and playing baseball and soccer. He also recently participate in the local Shamrock Marathon Final Mile race and finished with a time of 8:32! :) He placed in the top 3rd of the 3300+ runners and had a better time than any of his friends that ran the race with him from his school.

We're very proud of Holden and how he's dealt with having a special needs older brother. Like Ashton, Holden tolerates from Ashton what he will tolerate from no one else. It's an incredible relationship that they share. :)

Thank you for letting me share my littlest birthday boy with you!! Later today is their birthday party, so hopefully I'll have lots of birthday pics to share  tomorrow!! Happy Birthday little man - we LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU LOTS!! XOXOXOX! Mommy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday, big boy!!!!

Happy 12th Birthday Ashton!!!!
(posted in red since it's Ashton's favorite color)

Ashton - 2 days old

Ashton & Mommy '01

Proud Big Brother - 3yrs old
Christmas brothers - '03
Ashton - halloween '04

Ashton - halloween in '06
Kiss the camel! - June '07
Mommy & Ashton at VA Beach - Spring '07

Feb 2008
Spring 2010

To my sweet, sweet baby boy.... who is no longer, well, a baby but is quickly becoming a young man. You are almost a teenager my sweet boy! A TEENAGER!

You were our "planned" surprise... meaning, we'd planned to have kids, just not quite as soon as we found ourselves becoming parents. You were a gorgeous newborn, absolutely perfect in every way. A head-full of dark hair that was so soft and was probably the cause of all that heartburn I had when I was pregnant with you. (old wives tale..... if you have lots of heartburn when pregnant, than your baby will have lots of hair.... YOU did). You were much smaller than we'd anticipated; you were supposed to be 8+lbs and 22in long.... you came in at a tiny 5lbs 14oz, 17.5in long. You were always so alert and your eyes were the purest windows into your sweet little soul..

As you grew, you were always smiling, always. Such a happy and friendly baby and toddler. You loved to eat, despite the nasty reflux that plagued you for the first two years of your life. Around 18months we began to notice a change; you were no longer that social and happy-go-lucky baby. You would often stare up at ceiling fans for an extremely long time and well, you had to have everything lined up, just so.

At 2 and a half years old we received your official diagnosis; Autism. I was also pregnant at the time and your world was about to be rocked upside down and all the way around. Luckily, you adjusted to your preschool pretty well and the adjustment to becoming a big brother? Well, it went as well as anyone could have expected. I think you thought you had a new toy to play with!

Your little brother was probably the single-best thing we did for you. You had a built-in playmate and he (by nature of his personality) forced you more and more into "OUR" world so that you couldn't retreat into your world as much. Your love for him is so obvious; your joy when he's gone and you see him again "Holden, I'm so glad you're back!" which is followed by hugs, is evidence of your love for him. He's the one person who can push you around and you don't fight it. He is your very best friend and you tolerate from him, what you tolerate from no one else.

Your interests have changed vastly.... whereas you once enjoyed all things dinosaurs, animals and ABCs, you've moved on to bigger and better things! Super heros, comics, and spelling things out takes up your time now (I guess your obsession with the ABCs paid off since it helped you spell). However, two things have never changed.... your love of movies and books! Wow! You could sit and watch movies all day with books in hand, ALL DAY LONG! As a matter of fact, I think you have on a few occasions!

You are now a big huge, 6th grader! You're just an inch shorter than me (though, being that I'm not quite 5foot tall, that doesn't say much), and well, you know how to throw your weight around! Strong, but sweet. Handsome, funny, smart as a whip! While you still have many years ahead of you for learning how to adjust to the world around you, I've got glimpses of who you will be. You will be caring, always happy, quick friend to others, and always, ALWAYS smiling. You adjust to new situations and new people better than any other kid I know; in fact, you thrive on the challenging and new.

We were blessed when we first found out I was pregnant with you, but I don't think we ever imagined just how much. You show us every day, in the face of adversity, just how awesome you are. We love you...... VERY VERY MUCH and I hope you have the very best of birthdays today!!!

Happy Birthday baby boy!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's a matter of perspective......

Life happens.....

Things happen......

even more importantly.....
things happen in life for a reason ......

I know I've moaned and groaned and complained about this school year. It may seem, that nothing positive has happened, and that would be very wrong to say, because lots of positive things *have* happened.

1. Ashton got to experience a (mostly) once in a lifetime opportunity last August; the joy, magic and healing of Surfers Healing. Ashton has always thoroughly enjoyed the water and has never really been afraid of it, and he took to surfing, well, like a fish! Thanks to Kalani, one of the Surfers Healing surfers, and Surfers Healing for allowing Ashton to have such a wonderful experience.
Ashton & Kalani
Catchin' a wave!

2. Ashton got to experience the fun of snow! Yes, it's snowed here before; nearly almost every year that we've lived down here. But Ashton just never seemed to take much interest in it. However, this year he had a ball (pun intended) throwing snowballs at his brother. Take a look at this winning smile!
See, snowball in hand! ;)

3. Ok... so while having a trip to the Emergency Room is not necessarily a positive thing, the care Ashton received and how well he did with a totally unexpected trip and new situation/surroundings, was amazing! He had, what the ped. neurologist said was a basilar migraine or a complex paralytic migraine.
Sleeping in the ER
See, he even had to have an IV :( and pulse oximeter and he did awesome!

4. and while school has been the thorn in my side since nearly the beginning..... the fact that we've made it to middle school is amazing! I look at how far he's come since fall of '01 when we got his Autism diagnosis and wow. amazing changes.
First Day of school this year

I remember this day, 12 years ago like it was yesterday.... having been told that because my blood pressure was rising and the fact that we were expecting a largish baby (8+lbs and 22in) that we should induce two weeks early to ensure a healthy delivery for all.......... After having been on bedrest from 29weeks until 37weeks for pre-term labor, we were in for a ride of a lifetime!

The story continues tomorrow.....