Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

Today, I was reminded that just a few years ago I had feared that Matthew would never see a Christmas.  And this year he ran around, opened gifts, and enjoyed spending time with family.  We are so very, very thankful for our health, our family and our friends.  Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve!

Jackson's class of 5 year olds in his school's holiday program.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Angels' Day

Last Sunday (12/16) would have been our cousin Jenn's 40th birthday. 

This was quintessential Jenn, holding a baby with camera in hand.
Alyssa (9 mo in the photo) was her baby girl whenever we were in Chicago.
She is missed every single day.  This year, for Angels' day to celebrate her birthday, we were planning to go to the zoo lights at the Houston zoo, which is similar to the Christmas event Jenn loved at the zoo near her.  Unfortunately, Jackson came down with a flu the weekend of her birthday, so we postponed our celebration until last night.  We had a wonderful night, walking amongst the lights, looking at the giraffe and lions, and being reminded of our beautiful, loving cousin. 

Jenn was 37 when she passed 3 years ago, leaving behind a husband, 2 young boys, family and friends that miss her terribly.  Please remember that the symptoms of ovarian cancer whisper and there is no standard screening test for it.  For the women in our life, the best course of action is to know your body and go see your ob/gyn when anything seems a miss.  For the men, please encourage the women you love to follow through to get checked.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Winter Break

This semester was exceptionally rough for me.  I suspect it is because I took a gamble this summer by not preparing for the class I thought wouldn't make, and I lost.  It made, and I had to play catch up all semester long.  I could never get ahead of the prep and grading.  Even with that though, it was a great semester.  Though tiring & sometimes frustrating, I LOVE teaching.  And I learned my lesson, I am not gambling this winter break.  I am prepping for next semester through all of the craziness of the holidays.

The kids are out of school and are excited that they won't be back in school for almost 3 weeks.  We have something planned every day of the break, and it should be great fun! Today, Alyssa went with Grandma Joy to see the play Peter Pan and Jackson went with Darren to see Rise of the Guardians on what Jackson calls "Jackson Fun Day".  Fun today, and we are all looking forward to the upcoming days! 
Just Alyssa and Mommy at lunch, celebrating the last day.

Jackson with his classmates at their class party on Friday.
His teacher's comment: 
"I am having a blast! Donuts.....sugarcone Christmas trees....and candy....lots of candy!"

Playing alligator with Daddy on our first afternoon off.

Alyssa and Grandma Joy on their way to see Peter Pan.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Newtown Tragedy

I usually listen to CNN on XM anytime I am in the car.  On Friday, I decided to listen to Christmas music instead. I was giddy on Friday-- it was the 7th anniversary of the day I became a mom, my big girl's birthday, and I was done for the semester with only the task of turning in my grades left.  I sung along to the radio as I went up to Alyssa's school to eat lunch with my birthday girl, and then as I returned to my campus to turn in my final grades.  My heart was light.  I switched the radio to CNN, during a rare commercial on the country Christmas channel, and heard the horrible news about the elementary school shooting.  My heart sank to my feet.  I had a moment of realization that although I have worried many days and nights about losing Matthew, it is not something I have ever consider about Alyssa or Jackson.  I imagine those parents never considered it either.  I can only imagine their anguish.

Those 20 little kids were Alyssa's peers-- first graders, 6 and 7 years old.  I can't imagine losing my Alyssa- who loves reading, coloring, macaroni and cheese with broccoli, and math problems.   Nor my Jackson- who gives the best hugs, loves to laugh, and runs all out through life.  I imagine those 20 weren't much different. 

We have learned that life is full of the unexpected, but this tragedy just seems beyond comprehension.  My heart hurts for their pain and anguish.  Since I've heard, I've hugged Aly, Jax and Mattie a bit harder. Tomorrow, I will be sending their teachers cookies because I know they care for my kids just like the teachers that were lost on Friday did their students. 

Rest in peace.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Happy 7th Alyssa!

Happy 7th Birthday Alyssa!

She had a great day at school celebrating.  She got to wear her pjs to school for the RMH donation and I took her Chick-fil-a to celebrate at lunch.  Then Darren was the mystery parent reader in her classroom that afternoon.  We had to modify our afternoon celebration plans because Jackson came home from school with a fever and the flu (and Matthew had been fighting a cold, and Darren had been coughing). I guess we will just have to keep celebrating later in December.  Last night, she and I went up to my folks house to celebrate with cake, presents, a campfire, and smores leaving the sick Hoy boys at home.  She had a very nice day!

Celebratory Chick-fil-a at lunch.
Cake at Granny and Granddad's house.
After her big day though, she woke up with a cough this morning and a fever this afternoon.  So, we will pick back up with the celebration when health returns to the Hoy house.

The sick kids cuddled on the couch.
Matthew sat there for all of 2 minutes.
Jackson and Alyssa have been there all afternoon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Butterfly Effect

Last night I went to book club to discuss Stephen King's 11/22/63.  Not to give anything away about the book, essentially it is about time travel and President Kennedy's assassination.  The book refers to the butterfly effect quite a bit, and it always reminds me of Matthew-- and the difference a moment makes. 

Matthew's unbelievably rare chromosome disorder is de novo, meaning neither Darren nor I have uniquenesses in our chromosomes that might have led to his partial trisomy 4q.  It was total happen chance and in that split second of meiosis where the chromosomes were dividing, something was amiss.  If Matthew had been conceived a moment earlier or a moment later, he likely wouldn't have his 4q duplication. 

That thought was on our mind a lot the first year, a little less the second year, and a lot less this third year.  But there are still moments we wonder how life would have been different if Matthew had been born with the typical 46 chromosomes.  Seeing Matthew hurt (surgery after surgery) and struggle (to do things most kids do) is often heart wrenching.  

I have to believe in the butterfly effect--that Matthew's uniquenesses exist for a reason or reasons that I don't know or understand.  I know that moment has led us to this time, and this place, with this life.  And this life is very good!  If that moment had been different, maybe this would be too. 

Matthew helping Darren with the crossword.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Peaks and Valleys

Lately, our weather in Houston has been one extreme to the other.  The first weeks of December were unseasonably warm (80* plus), and today we had the coldest morning we've had since February (27*).  Then, it is supposed to warm up again this weekend before a cool front comes through for somewhat moderate temperatures for hopefully a week.  

Peaks and Valleys.  Reminds me of Matthew's communication.  Since he said 'mama', we've heard it only a handful of times.  Very, very inconsistent.  No new words.  Some days he'll be very talkative, with lots of babble.  Others, he will barely make a sound. 

I was hoping that he would have a language explosion after his first word, like when he took his first steps.  His gross motor has been like stair steps.  He'll make a leap (or step, run, jump, scoot), then plateau for a bit where he practices his new skill, then make another jump.  I was hoping for that same pattern for his verbal skills--a word or two, then time to practice, then more words.  Instead, he said a word, and then back to nothing, then a sound, then back to nothing, then the word again, then a sound, then back to nothing.  It is like a graphic of a heart beating, or the Houston weather.  Peaks and valleys.

We are increasingly frustrated, and concerned.  

Alyssa and Matthew bundled up for our morning bike ride to school.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

How Far

As Alyssa, Jackson, Matthew and I were in the car on the way home from picking up Jackson from school, I was reminded of how far we've come-- Matthew and our family. 

Alyssa was excited because her school is doing a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House, where if they donate $1 they can wear pjs to school.  She remembered that RMH was one of our favorite charities, but she couldn't remember why.  I explained that they helped us tremendously when Matthew was in the hospital when he was a baby.  She said she barely remembered that.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  It is a distant memory for me too.  Wow.  How very far we've come.  How amazingly far Matthew has come! 

2 years ago today was Matthew's craniosynstosis surgery.  I have never been more afraid of anything in my entire life.  I feared that the morning of December 6 might be the last day I would wake up with my sweet baby Matthew.  And if not for the blood donated by my dad and our friend Peter for that surgery and the quick action by our fantastic craniofacial surgeon and his team, Matthew probably wouldn't have made it out of the OR that morning. Thankfully, we have been blessed with 731 more days and hopefully countless more to come.

Every moment hasn't been rainbows and sunshine, and I may not always remember to be as grateful as we are.  Thank you, God, for the time we have been given!  Thank you for letting some of those scariest moments be distant memories!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thanksgiving Trip

It has taken me a while to post, as we are still knee deep in laundry and technology has been wonky, but we are almost recovered from our amazing Thanksgiving in Chicago.  We always come home exhausted, because we have stuffed as much fun, family, and food as physically possible into the few days we are there.  No matter how much time we are there, it never seems like enough!

Some of the highlights from the week:  On the 19 hour drive up to Chicago, every time we'd get out or in the car, Jackson would say "last one is a rotten egg!".  (I am often the rotten egg.)  We had lots of time for hugs and cuddles with family that we don't get to see near as often as we'd like.  All 3 kids got pedicures from cousin Rachel.  Darren played in the turkey bowl with no major injuries, though he was reminded by his aches and pains that he would no longer qualify for the 'young team'.  We ate delicious food and enjoyed fun games at Aunt Susie's (who is my idol when it comes to hosting a large event!).  Alyssa and Jackson had a blast selling 'beverages' to all the family at the bar in the basement on Thanksgiving night.  (They would have done it all night with the kind of encouragement they were receiving.) We enjoyed visiting with family.  The cookie bake was a blast, as always, and this year a dance party broke out!  We couldn't have had more fun (except on our last day, more on that in another post), and our only regret was that the time went way too fast!

Trying to avoid being the rotten egg!
A little cuddle time with Auntie C.

The Hoy boys have figured out that Aunt Susie's lap is one of the greatest places to play LCR.

A dance party broke out at the cookie bake.
Jackson has been singing Pound Sign ever since.

Lots of cookies, lots of fun, a likely a bit too much tasting!
Deep dish! The kids had to help carry.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

A few fowl for Thanksgiving-

Alyssa and a classmate with their class chicks (Fuzzy and Candycorn). 
They saw them from incubation until about 2 weeks old.
Alyssa loved them, though they were loud.

Jackson was a turkey for his Thanksgiving feast. 
They ate chicken instead of turkey!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What To Do

Earlier this year, Matthew learned to climb the stairs that led to the top bunk of his and Jackson's bunk bed, so we stored the stairs in the attic.  Now, Matthew has figured out how to scale the side of the bunkbeds and get onto the top bunk without the stairs. 

To this point, we've been closing the bedroom door and not letting Matthew play in his room to deter this activity.  Unfortunately, this is not a long term solution.  Last week, Jackson was playing in his room and forgot to shut the door.  Moments later, Matthew lets out a cry that I rarely hear and always fear.  I found him on the floor after he took a dive from the top bunk.  Thankfully, no major injuries, just a few cuts on his side.

Now, we need to figure out how to keep Matthew from being able to climb to the top bunk or we need to take the top bunk down.  Ah, how delightful for us, as this is likely a very typical issue of families that have a little one with no fear!  If you have a solution that has worked, please drop me a line! 
In most instances, having no fear has served Matthew well.
This is not one of those instances.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Decked the Halls

As is becoming our family tradition the weekend before Thanksgiving, we put out our Christmas decorations this weekend.  Matthew had a great time 'helping' us string the lights outside.  Saturday night, as Alyssa and I walked in from a birthday party, her first words were "magical".  And Sunday morning, you would have thought it was Christmas morning, as Alyssa and Jackson were over the moon. They looked at the Christmas books we had stored away since last year.  They sung with all of the singing Christmas toys (thanks Mom).  They watched Muppet Family Christmas (one of my favorites) and Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas (one of their favorites).  We aren't forgoing Thanksgiving (we LOVE Thanksgiving), but we are just maximizing the time we have for the joy that Christmas time brings our family.  Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!
Matthew 'helping' Darren with the lights.

Matthew was enamored with the decorations.

The kids were reading Christmas books near the tree.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Parent Teacher Conferences

In the past few weeks, Darren and I attended both Jackson and Alyssa's parent teacher conferences.  In both, nothing that we heard surprised us.  I guess that is good. 

Alyssa is studious--doing really well in math and reading, and not so well in spelling (which she comes by honestly on both sides).  Her teacher's recommendation was to keep doing what we are doing-- let her read when she wants (which is almost all of the time), give her math problems whenever she asks for it (which is probably every other day), and keep quizzing her on spelling (which we have to do daily).

Jackson is doing much better than in the past--he is enjoying school more, beginning to read, and pay attention longer.  Overall, vast improvements but work still to be done to get him ready for public school next Fall.

We are very thankful for the good teachers who care for and educate our kids!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Matthew's Thumbdex

Every time I look down at Matthew's beautiful 4 fingered hands, I am amazed. He is so much more proficient without his thumbs than I ever expected he would be.  I love watching him hold a pencil, grab a handle, or use a fork.  He uses that index finger just like a thumb.  But when needed, he uses it as an index finger too-- to point, to pick his nose, or to choose Peek A Boo Barn on the iTouch.  That finger is his multifunctional finger-- his thumbdex.   

This morning I thought a lot about that thumbdex as I began to modify a pair of mittens for Matthew.  I cut off the thumbs and sewed them up.  When I tried them on Matthew, he threw a fit.  He despised the mittens.  Thinking about it later, it makes perfect sense. I wouldn't like having all of my fingers confined either!  So, I found a pair of small gloves, cut off the thumbs, and sewed them up.  When I tried them on Matthew, he loved them. Yippee for the 4 fingered gloves!

Matthew does still struggle a bit with his fine motor skills, but it isn't the most concerning developmental area with Matthew.  We continue to see occupational therapy to help him improve. 

As far as the hand surgery to move his index finger to the thumb position (pollicization), we have decided to postpone that decision for likely another year plus.  Though TSRH was willing to do the surgery after Matthew turned 2, the plastic surgeon we originally saw at TCH recommended doing it after they turned 4.  So we have a while more to think through that decision.  Matthew is doing amazingly well without right now. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Matthew's Preschool

In the Spring, Matthew will go to a typical preschool for 1/2 days on MWF and then go to PPCD (preschool program for children with disabilities) through our school district for 1/2 days M-F.  We needed to decide on a typical preschool before the holidays. 

I stress about any school decision for the kids, but this one seemed even more so.  I need a school that will see beyond Matthew's special needs and see him as the miracle that he is.   One that will love him and push him.  That will put no limits on him, but know that he might struggle too. 

I found what I believe is the perfect fit.  It is a preschool program at a local gymnastics gym.  I knew they were special needs friendly before I went.  They have adaptive gymnastics for kids with special needs and they host a respite care program once a month.  When I took the tour of the preschool (sans Matthew), I liked the small classrooms and warm atmosphere.  When I met with the preschool director (with Matthew), my mind was made up.  When I introduced her to Matthew, and told her about his diagnosis and that he's the only 1 in the world, tears welled up in her eyes.  She understood that he's a miracle.  This seems to be the place for him!

Though we will greatly miss our nanny, who has been perfect for Matthew, we are excited for Matthew to start preschool.  We think he is going to love it!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Matthew's Recent Ailments

Matthew has been sick for a couple of weeks.  First he ran a mystery fever for a day.  No other symptoms, just fever.

Then a few days later, he woke up croupy.  When I heard him breathing, I worried this might land him the hospital again.  Thankfully, he rallied during the day, only sounding croupy when he coughed.  I wondered if I needed to take him to the pediatrician for some steroids for the croupy cough, but I was hopeful we could avoid that since Matthew gets unpleasant on steroids.  I felt it was probably too much to ask-- staying out of the hospital, out of the doctor's office, and off meds-- while fighting croup, but it wasn't!  Matthew fought it off and on for about a week, and then it moved on to just a typical head cold. 

He had several days of the head cold, with green goo oozing from his nose (gross!).  It kept us from music class, going to the Y, and just about every other activity where he would be around other children.  Though it didn't slow him down any, he was cranky.

Now, I think he is on the mend.  No fever. No croup.  No green goo.  All with no hospital, no doctor, no meds.  Yippee!

When Matthew doesn't feel well, he likes to be near the dog.
Well, even more than usual.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

We had a great time tonight as the Star Wars family, trick or treating and then handing out candy. I was afraid that last year was my last year to theme the kids, but alas, I not only got another year but I also conned Darren into participating.  He thinks it was just by me buying him a Darth Vadar t-shirt, but I think it was that my Jedi mind trick worked!  Happy Halloween!

Alyssa as Queen Amidala, Jackson as Darth Maul, and Matthew as Yoda.
Darth Vadar vs Yoda (who didn't want to keep his ears on).

The queen ready to trick or treat.

Darth Maul ready to scare up some candy.
Yoda and Darth Vadar ready for some Halloween fun.

We hit one street, were done trick or treating, and ready to pass out candy at our house.

Looking through the loot. 
Matthew's favorite was a rice cripie treat.
Alyssa's was a blow pop. 
And Jackson's was anything chocolate.

Every year, Alyssa and Jackson have as much fun passing out candy as trick or treating.
I think it is because they get to see more people dressed up that way.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Good Progress

7 months ago, Matthew took his first independent steps.  Saturday, he mastered riding his 3 wheeled balance scooter.


Though Matthew's path is rarely easy or straight, he is a tenacious fighter, doing something hundreds if not thousands of times until he gets it.  God gave Matthew the pefect disposition for the uniquenesses he was given. I watch in awe of how far he's come.  And we continue to pray that his switch gets flipped in regards to language very soon. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Matthew v 2 Year Old

I often wonder how much of Matthew's behavior is uniquely Matthew and how much is just him being 2 years old. 

Going Out To Eat
We typically limit our eating out to 2 times a week, usually on the weekends.  Lately Matthew has been a nightmare to take to a restaurant.  He squirms in the seat (no matter the type- high chair, booster seat, big chair, booth) for the first 5 minutes, he eats for about 3-5 minutes, and then he loses his mind wanting to get down and roam around for the remainder of our time out. Since this has started a few months ago, we have mostly limited eating out to restaurants that are (a) loud and (b) open to kids roaming around.  We aren't happy with either these restrictions or his behavior, but it is what it is right now.  Ugh. Matthew's restaurant behavior-- Uniquely Matthew v 2 year old?  Not sure.

Matthew still doesn't watch tv.  He will sit down with Alyssa and Jackson for about a minute and a half when they are watching a show, but that is it.  Doesn't matter the show-- animated or not, educational or not, kid focused or not.  This normally isn't an issue, as he is pretty independent and will often entertain himself while the kids watch something, but it does make me a bit sad.  First, he won't watch shows that would be beneficial for him, like Signing Times.  Second, Matthew doesn't care at all about Sesame Street.  Our days of Big Bird, Elmo, Oscar, Bert and Ernie are completely over unless he suddenly takes an interest.  They have been a big part of our house for a very long time, and I had imagined that they would be here a bit longer with Matthew, but sadly that just doesn't seem to be the case.  Matthew's tv viewing-- Uniquely Matthew v 2 year old?  Seemingly uniquely Matthew. 

Unless Matthew comes around soon, I guess I'll sadly have to take down the custom made Sesame Street shower curtain and embrodiered towels from the kids' bathroom.

Matthew was healthy for 8 weeks in a row at the end of the summer/beginning of the fall. He had croup in August, and then was healthy until a week ago when he ran a mystery fever for a day. That is the longest stretch of health Matthew has had in his lifetime.  Usually, Matthew catches a cold or stomach bug or whatever is going around approximately every 3 weeks.  In comparison, 8 weeks seemed like a LONG time.  And now today, he woke up a bit croupy.  I think 8 weeks of health during the fall/winter would be a little too optimistic, but 1 week seems a bit too short.  Matthew's immune system-- Uniquely Matthew v 2 year old? Likely a combination of both. 

We have been fighting Matthew's weight since his 2 month baby well visit appointment.  Matthew struggled to take a bottle. He ate baby food until he was 2.  But now, he eats table food & drinks from a cup.  He doesn't have trouble chewing or swallowing. He eats all foods and all textures.  But he just doesn't eat enough--whether it be healthy foods (bananas, noodles, peas, etc) or less healthy foods (chicken nuggets, pizza, etc) or plainly unhealthy foods (fast food, cake, etc).  Doesn't matter if they are his favorite foods or foods he has never tried before.  3-5 minutes at the table, and he's done.  I can't make him eat more food, or even more fattening foods.  Ugh.  He is 2.5 years old (32 months), and weighs 24 pounds.  He is off the chart too thin.  But he reminds me frequently that you can lead a toddler to the food, but you can't make him eat.  Matthew's eating issues-- Uniquely Matthew v 2 year old? Eating habits may be similar to 2 year olds, weight issues seem to be uniquely Matthew.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Highs and Lows

Through parenting Alyssa and Jackson, we learned that parenting is full of highs and lows, joys and challenges.  So, when it came to Matthew, we expected more of the same, he is a kid after all! 

Matthew hasn't disappointed-- with him, we have had highs and lows, joys and challenges.  And Matthew's uniquenesses have exacerbated those highs and lows-- they are often more dramatic highs (see the Mama post) and dramatic lows (see any of the ICU posts), and there are also more tempered, but more frequent highs and lows.  Following Matthew's 'mama' on Tuesday last week (dramatic high), he went days without saying it, and has only said it 3 or 4 times total since. It worries me, did I just mistake a well timed babble for a word? I watch that clip over and over again to make sure he said it about me.  He did, but now he doesn't do it consistently (tempered low).  His journey is never as straight and easy as I'd like. 

The highs and lows aren't always day to day, they can be moment to moment.  In music class, I will beam because my sweet baby Matthew is interacting with his peers, following directions, and having a good time (tempered high).  And then I will notice how his peers are all talking in complete sentences, and recognizing colors, and starting to count...all while I'm excited that he said 1 word-- once (tempered low). 

I have to remind myself time and time again that although Matthew is just a typical kid in many ways, his journey is truly unique.  His experiences have been dramatically different, as are his genetics.  So, I should expect that our experiences parenting Matthew will be similar in ways and unique in others. I sometimes forget that. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


At Matthew's last speech therapy appointment, he saw a cow and tried to say the word "moo".  He hasn't yet figured out that he needs to open his mouth all the way, so it is a bit garbled, but it is a 'moo' nevertheless!  Words are coming, albeit very slowly. 

And lately, Matthew has been saying 'mama' tons.  But I have been seriously doubting he is saying it about or to me.  He just doesn't seem to be looking at me when he says it-- until today!  We were on the couch and he was not only staying still (which is unusual) but he was cuddled up next to me (even more unusual), so I wanted to capture the moment. I pulled out my itouch to take the picture, and when Matthew saw us come up on the screen, he clearly said 'mama'!  So, I captured the next time on video.  It might be wishful thinking, that I've wanted this for so very long, but he seems to have said 'mama' to me!  It made my day, week, month, maybe even year!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saturday Night

Alyssa went to her first slumber party on Saturday night.  7 girls, lots of fun, and from what I could tell, not much slumber.  We all paid the high price on Sunday.  She was tired, cranky, and it was just an ugly day.  The price we pay for fun!  Thankfully she seemed much better this morning, even though we had to wake her up for school. 

Before the slumber party.

After the slumber party.
To keep Jackson from feeling too left out, Darren and Jackson had a campfire with smores and beer ("root" for Jackson, "adult" for Daddy).  The big boys had a nice evening too, and also stayed up a little too late.  Jackson weathered it better on Sunday than Alyssa did. Thank goodness- the day was ugly enough as it was! 
The big boys backyard campfire.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Helping, Reading, Building, and Learning

Happy moments from the last week--

-Matthew has become quite the little helper.  When I vacuum, he vacuums with his little vacuum. When I wipe the table, he goes to get a rag to help.  When I step out of the shower, he likes to hand me a towel.  It is so sweet!

-Alyssa's class was just approved to check out chapter books from the library. This thrilled our little reader.   We have begun to let her read on her own in bed for a few minutes after nightly tuck in.  I am in awe of what a big girl she has become!

-As a reward for very good behavior this past week, Jackson and Alyssa received a small Lego kit each.  They worked their kits independently, without any help, and without any frustation.  It was delightful!

-Jackson has seemed to turn the corner in school.  He doesn't complain about it near as much and he loves to share with us some of what he has learned. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I looked at Matthew today and noticed he was wearing one of Jackson's old shirts.  Really this shouldn't have come as a surprise as most of Matthew's wardrobe was Jackson's.  But today it struck me that Matthew is now the same age as Jackson was when Matthew was born.  I remember Jackson wearing that shirt in one of Matthew's newborn pictures.  It took me back and I couldn't help but to make comparisons from Jackson at that age to Matthew at this age.  I know we are on a different journey with Matthew, but sometimes the difference is jarring. I texted Darren with my observation that Matthew is now Jackson's age at Matthew's birth.  His response reminded me of what matters most-- "Our miracle baby has made it to toddlerhood!" 

Though Matthew is fully in toddlerhood, I do worry that maybe I am holding Matthew back, that since he is still the baby of the family, that I've allowed him to be a baby longer.  He will always be my sweet baby Matthew!  I think this is a concern for every parent -- how much do I push, how much should I expect, and how much should I help, how much should I accept?  This has been a struggle of balance for us with Alyssa and Jackson, but like many other things, it is exacerbated in Matthew by his uniquenesses. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

State Fair

This weekend was our first family outing to the Texas state fair, which is held in Dallas.  The weather was a little cooler than we are used to, in the lower 50s, but the rain held off and it was a delightful day and experience!  And as an added bonus, we spent the night at Uncle Bryan's house!  (Thank you, Uncle Bryan!)

Bundled up for the tram ride.

Jackson still loves tractors

This was one of the cutest things at the fair--
On the 'farm' the kids were given chores like watering the trees, planting the veggies & milking the cow.
All 3 kids loved it.

Alyssa and Big Tex.

This was in front of the fun house that Alyssa and Jackson enjoyed.

This was Aly and Jax favorite ride.
On the race track, the car gets slung around the turns.

Even Matthew was able to ride a ride by himself.
We all had tons of fun!