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