Our Journey Raising Two Children with Special Needs

This blog chronicles our life raising two children, Nicholas 14, diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome and Weston 17, diagnosed with Autism/Asperger's/ADHD. It's the ups, the downs, the joys, the sorrows and most importantly, the beauty of living a life less perfect, a life more meaningful.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Stowe-away Thanksgiving

For a family living with Prader Willi Syndrome, Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday to navigate.

The abundance of food and the inability to access it, is stressful to an individual diagnosed with this condition. The sight, sound and smell of food cooking in the house, the buffet tables overflowing with steaming side dishes and the large display of decedent desserts are an overwhelming and unimaginable temptation for a person hardwired with an uncontrollable drive to eat.

The boisterous party-time atmosphere is filled with constant interruption and unavoidable distractions making it almost impossible for family members to provide the constant surveillance necessary to ensure strict food security.

This set-up creates a perfect opportunity for a dangerous or even deadly consequence to occur. So, in true Peters fashion, to avoid this unthinkable scenario, we go away for the holiday.

This year we tried something new.

We planned an adventure to the Green Mountains of Vermont and headed to Stowe Mountain Lodge, a resort  nestled at the base of Smuggler's Notch.

Our journey begins Wednesday morning with weather forecasters predicting a major nor'easter headed our way. Clothes, boots, coats and other vacation accoutrements are thrown hastily into suitcases and piled into our vehicle. We drop poor Muffy off at the local kennel and head up North as quickly as possible while the skies begin building with thick, dark, heavy clouds.

I-89 is the major thoroughfare to northern Vermont and as we merge onto this highway it appears that everyone has the same genius idea about leaving early.

The drive takes us through many quaint Vermont towns, nestled along fast-flowing riverbeds.

Each town seems to posses a white church and steeple.
It is isn't long before we approach this glorious vehicle traveling ahead of us.
Can you guess what it is?

A better look....
Yes, it"s a Coca Cola truck.
You may recall Nick's fascination with Coke trucks from some of my previous posts.
"COKE TRUCK, COKE TRUCK.....!" Nick hollers and we know it's going to be a good trip.
 There is also no shortage of shiny metal tanker trucks with two smoke stacks, keeping Nick thoroughly entertained.
After a long 3 hour drive,
we arrive in the mountain town of Stowe Vermont before the snow storm hits.
There are several restaurants and small shops.

 Farm land and ponies
 And of course.....the white church

Up ahead in the distance, we can see Smuggler's Notch Ski area, our final destination.
 Smuggler's Notch is a series of caves and mountain passes that were used during the days of Prohibition to smuggle beer and alcohol from Canadian sources. Now it is the fourth largest ski resort in the New England area.
We get closer and closer...until finally....

We arrive at our destination.
 We follow the shuttle bus to the lobby.
 Nick is the first to get out of the vehicle and stretch his legs.
 We enter the lobby
 where...if you notice in the far right hand corner of the room...
a fireplace....!
Nick decides on the spot, that this is the best vacation ever.
Inside the resort are several shops, selling obscenely-priced goods.
We pass them on our way to our room.
 But perhaps most impressively, we pass this...
 The heated indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub....
where we notice it is beginning to snow.
 We arrive at our room.
And quickly change into our bathing suits.
 As heavy, wet snow begins to fall.
Very few folks have arrived at the hotel.
We have the pool mostly to ourselves.
It is a perfect place to relieve the stress of a long drive.
(fyi....the pool is accessible from the indoors,
we walked through from the shallow end
where there was a narrow stretch of water that lead outside.)
Afterwards, Nick finds this....
 And I find this........
 It isn't long before the two of us are back in our room fast asleep.
On Thanksgiving morning we awake to this snow-covered scene.

 We eat Thanksgiving dinner in the lovely restaurant where the hostess was sure to sit us.....
 here, next to the fire, making someone very happy.
Nick eats his dinner in record time and I am happy we chose to eat in this kind of setting.
Our room did have a small kitchen.
 So once again the vacation food security procedure is implemented.
The wooden door beside the stove is a refrigerator/freezer.
We placed this heavy table and chairs in front of it.
So far, this works for Nick.
The next day we visit the snow covered town.
 Weston nearly faints when he's sees this vehicle parked at a nearby motel,
and asks why on earth we did not choose to stay here instead?
 We visit some obscenely-priced stores looking for t-shirts.
We find this lovely place.
Looks kinda like someone's home right?
 But as Nick and I enter the premise,
The store owner stops us at the door.
He tells us that Nicholas cannot enter since he is not 18.
I look around to see
not just obscene prices,
 but obscene posters and other various "explicit" publications.
I turn around quickly to leave.
Nick starts to cry.
He does not understand why he can't visit the store.
I must admit, I have trouble finding the appropriate words to explain it to him! Oy!
 We return to the hotel,
where we resign ourselves to pay the extra cash for another furry friend for Nick.
It is a lovely vacation for our family
filled with good fun, fond memories and of course, lots of fireplaces
 Heading home.
Thank you to all our readers for visiting and supporting us throughout the year.
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
If you are not from the US, hope you had a wonderful weekend.