Friday, September 17, 2010

On Our Anniversary

It is difficult, maybe impossible, to predict what will happen tomorrow. On my wedding day six years ago I never could have predicted what would occur from that day to this. I never would have imagined all of the trials, difficulties and heartache we'd see, but the beauty is I could never have predicted all of the happiness, joy and enchantment that would ensue.

While I can't guess what the next six years will bring us, I'd like just a quick look back on some of the things the last six years brought us.

This is the place where I saw you for the first time. It's also the spot where you spent hours working, and I spent countless hours flirting and trying to get you to remember my name! I'm amazed I was allowed to get away with as much on-the-clock flirting as I did! So it wasn't our favorite job ever, but some did come out of it. Has a woman ever looked so cute in a uniform apron? I don't think so! I couldn't find a picture of you in your apron so this costume will have to do. (No one's ever been a cuter Egyptian princess either. My apologies, Nefertiti!)
I think our most beautiful, most romantic courting place was this little bench. We would spend your breaks sitting on this little bench chatting and getting spritzed by the car wash that I conveniently left out of the picture. I felt like the back of the gas station captured the mood better than the car wash. Nothing is more romantic than a gas station, right?
I know, you've been been wondering if I'd forgotten this place. How could I forget our time in this room? The break room at work was a hot bed for flirtatious notes written on napkins. Guess what, I still have some of those notes. On the rare occasion our breaks were together I got to have the best thirty minutes of my day here...ok maybe it was more like forty minutes.

Remember this? This is the gazebo where we could have (and should have) had our first kiss if only one, or both of us, were just a little less timid.Who could forget love park? I fell in love with you while you studied your Arabic flash cards right here.
I'm glad they finished the park. When we were there and the park was still under construction it wasn't nearly this pretty.

Recognize this? It's changed a lot since the last time we were here. The pool is new and the walk way has gotten a lot bigger, but this is the spot where we had our first kiss.
Do you remember the hours and hours we spent here? Provo Canyon was the site of many bombfires (bonfires for those of you not present for them), deer sightings, walks, a feared car theft and of course, one shaky handed proposal.Our first little home. I will never forget the many firsts we had here. Our first anniversary, first positive pregnancy test, first sleep walking experience, first "favorite" neighbor, first Christmas and so many more. This was also the home of a penny in the garbage disposal, a ferret sighting, a sneaky wife hiding behind the door while an unsuspecting husband came in singing a catchy tune and holding breakfast strudels and chocolate milk. Then there was the secret stash of plastic bags and grocery store ads, a hidden pot stash which, I am sad to say, is gone now (Don't worry, it's not what you think people) and a really tight parking spot that left our car and the jeep with scratched side mirrors. Don't forget one frozen bus rider, slumber parties in the front room, and Cash Money! Then there's a car crash with a fake note, ward prayer across the street and so many more memories.
So these stairs aren't really a shared memory or experience, but I fell in love with you as you made your trip up and down these stairs every day without a word of complaint. You never even asked if we could rearrange our schedules so you could have the car. You simply put on your backpack and went.

After a year of living in an apartment that didn't allow pictures on the walls we finally got our own home and pictures on the wall. If you look closely you can see our old light is still up side down, but don't look too closely. The bugs have covered the whole thing! This home was where we welcomed both of our children. It was also the place where Avi learned to walk and talk, at least temporarily. Itai's time here was short, but this was the first home we all had together. We changed this place as much as possible in the time we spent there and were extremely lucky to have had such a nice home and have sold it right when we needed to.
I fell in love with you here as well. Here among the ancient stones I found new love for you. I loved seeing your home, your school and your family. I don't think I've ever told you, but I even loved the feeling that you were the only person in the whole country that I knew. (Once your dad and brother left.)
Can you believe I even fell in love with you here, in this room, where we were given some of the most difficult news of our lives? Does seeing this picture bring a flood of emotion for you as it does for me? Even though my heart was breaking in this room I knew I was lucky to have you beside me.
I have fallen in love with you in the strangest of places: Office Max, Kokomo's, libraries, cemeteries, in the "land of the giants," and restaurants serving mushrooms of death. I will never forget flooded vacations, popcorn burns, magical waiters, tired days or dead fish on the shore.

I love you for who you were
the person I know you are
and the person you will become.

I probably wouldn't have done everything the exact same way i.e. Target parking lot or the incident of registering at Bed Bath and Beyond, but other than those few things the last six years have been more amazing than any thing I could have ever expected.
Thanks for everything and happy anniversary Deborah!

Out With the Old...

I'm a little slow on this one, but Avi had his "graduation" from his old preschool a few weeks ago. He really loved his old preschool and they loved him, but it was time to move on.
When Avi started attending that preschool we were so disappointed with the way things had gone in his previous preschool program and were hoping this new program would be able to correct some of the mistakes made in his old school. The staff at Avi's school far exceeded our expectations for the short time Avi was there. We could not have asked for a more supportive, more invested staff. Even though Avi was only going to be there for a short time they dedicated themselves to helping him progress as much as possible. Even in the last week the clinical director was looking for ways to help improve Avi's situation. It was really bittersweet saying goodbye to them.
On his last day they held a wonderful farewell party. The other children were really excited to give Avi his "birthday" presents. He loved them! He and Itai are in love with the Spiderman blow up toy. They both seem to think it is some sort of really long chair or a really skinny bed.
Debbie painstakingly selected a present to give to the school. It seems she picked well because the students loved the it! She brought them a game and they were excited to play it. In the end Avi had to say goodbye. It was really difficult to leave after all the good they've done for us, but we're definitely excited for him to start on the school we've waited so long for.

To all the staff, thank you so much!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Jumping, Riding and Hanging out Together

Saturday was the Autism Carnival and EVERYONE was there. Wait, you weren't there? Ok, well you were one of very few who missed it. Seriously, almost everyone was there. Check out this list of attendees:

The Salt Lake Bee's mascot, Bumble,
This Gorilla thing (anyone know who he is? No one at the event seemed to. He pulled up on a Harley and was wearing fur tight Wranglers.) This police officer with a few of his uniformed buddies, because, after all, parents of children with autism do tend to get out of hand.
Nemo was there too. His dad was missing, but was probably searching for him in the duck pond.
Captain Jack Sparrow, at least a guy who was really into his character...a little too in character.
My wonderful wife,And of course, Spiderboy! (Queue 80's cartoon theme song.)
And last, but not least, one of the VIP's from the event: our very own Avi!
With such an impressive list of attendees one would expect an equally striking list of activities. Don't worry because one would not have been disappointed. There was Itai's favorite: the Choo Choo Train. (Don't let him fool you, he was terrified unless seated on a grown ups lap, meanwhile Avi rode with some random other VIP.)
Splore was there with this great climbing wall. Splore provides outdoor sports and recreational activities to children and adults with disabilities. The line for the wall was really long, and the kids were scrambling up pretty quickly.Should you get tired of squishing into a tiny choo choo, or hiding from Captain Jack there was this great information fair. They had all sorts of vendors explaining there services, people selling magnets, t shirts and other things and even a woman selling pretty much everything you could find in a 7-11. Debbie and I were finally able to over come a long standing stylistic difference and we bought two autism awareness bumper magnets for our cars.Once you've finally convinced your parents to leave the boring stuff again you can get back to the fun. There's lots of fun to be had, like this little inflatable ball.You could feed the ducks, follow the rooster, play in the sensory pools, try out the various games or lose the raffle (we never win!) or, finally you could take a trip down inflatable row. Avi was in heaven. He was jumping, running and bouncing to Nirvana. He couldn't have been happier. They had about seven inflatable bounce houses or slides and Avi got to try all but one.
My favorite was the one on the right in the picture below. After climbing through the opening Avi was met with a few obstacles. The first was pretty simple. He just had to make his way through some tall bendable columns. After he did that he found himself face to face with a very narrow opening. He tried to squeeze his head through, but he doesn't like to exert that kind of force. He watched several children do it before he finally was brave enough to force his way through. Having passed that trial he faced the interlocking gate. He was able to master this one pretty quickly. Now the only thing that stood between him and his beloved slide was now a steep staircase. No staircase was going to stand in his way; he flew up to the top and dove down the other side. I was so proud of him for fighting through it even though he didn't think he could.I really enjoyed having the night off and the day with these beauties! It was so much fun I might have to make it an annual thing. :) As we left the helicopter that had been displayed suddenly took off. It shot straight up over us and off into the sky. It all happened so quickly all I could get was this blurry picture of a tiny little helicopter. So after all this fun and hard work, what is left to do? Well, if you're Avi you make a pillow of your underwear and try to get some sleep.If you're Itai you forget the underwear and skip straight to the sleeping part.

The Autism Carnival was a really fun. I am so impressed that Sahara put this together, creating a wonderful day of fun and togetherness. It was great to have time to spend as a family, finding resources, meeting other families and just having fun.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Let's Party!

My children are spoiled, plain and simple. Any child that has three birthday parties, mountains of gifts and a push over father is bound to be spoiled. Having a lot of family close by, a birthday and a devilishly cute smile don't help either. Once again when a birthday rolls around we end up having a lot of celebrations.

Before we started the birthday parties we started off with a train ride. Itai has been really interested in trains lately so I thought he'd love the ride; I was wrong. He was terrified the entire time. He wouldn't even sit on the seat by himself, but when we got off the train he wanted back on. *Sigh* I can never win.
At least he liked the little gazebo after the train ride was over.
So I forgot to take pictures again, but Debbie got a few.
Oh well, Itai had some pretty fun things in store of him. Itai's first birthday celebration was with grandma, grandpa and family. Itai and Avi both loved being with family and the presents didn't hurt either. Itai opened his first present to find a truck in the bottom of the bag. After that truck he expected every single bag have a truck in it. This didn't end with this party either.

When he and his friends got together for a party he expected to find a truck in every bag. Luckily for him (and not so luckily for mommy) there was a truck or something similar in nearly every bag. So our house in now loaded with trucks and bulldozers, ambulances and fire trucks and just about any other truck-like thing you can think of. Itai's party was planned to be a water party, but nature had other plans. We started out playing outside in the pools, trying to shepherd the children toward the games and activities, but once the rain started falling the party suddenly became a competition amongst the youngsters to see how quickly they could find every toy in the house, play with it and then throw it as fast as possible.

Itai's last party (I hope it's the last party!) was another joint party. Itai shares his birthday with a cousin and his aunt and uncle's anniversary. So we all met up at the happiest place in Utah: Chuck-a-Rama. Avi and Itai were thrilled to see so many family members. Itai was even more excited to see one of his presents, a little lion. He held it tightly the until the waitress brought him a high chair for his baby. He ended up feeding his "baby" for the rest of the evening. Mr. Lion now has a Mac and Cheese stain on his mouth.
Now that the parties are over Itai is surrounded with toys, clothes, books and left over candy from the pinata, Debbie is left trying to find a place for everything and Avi and I are playing with the toys when Itai isn't looking.
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