Thursday, January 31, 2013


There is a lot of flux going on right now at the Hoy House.  Matthew started preschool a few weeks ago.  Last week was Darren's last day at HP after a combined 12+ years in 2 stretches.  Last weekend into this week, we moved Darren into his apartment in Austin.  This week, painters began painting our house in Cypress in preparation for us putting it on the market.  This upcoming Monday, Darren starts his new job in Austin.  At the end of February, Team Matthew (made up of a speech therapist, an early developmentalist, an occupational therapist, and a physical therapist) will cease to exist in its current form as he ages out of ECI and moves to the school district and private therapy.  In the next few months, we need to purge our excess belongings, put our house on the market, find a neighborhood and school in Austin and buy a new house.  All followed by the move for the kids and I after the school year concludes.  Whew--that is a lot of change.

We've had a nice quiet stretch of late, which I have relished, and now life is in flux.  None of the above is bad--it is just change.  Some of it is very good change. But somedays, change is hard to handle. Today was that day for me.  I will miss my beloved until we are together again. I am sad to see the home that I love being turned into a generic house that we hope will sell.  I am wishing that we could take a break from therapy, to let Matthew be just a regular kid, but know that his reality, our reality, really doesn't allow for that.  I know I just need to suck it up and deal with it, and I will, but today I shed a few tears.  Tomorrow I'll begin to adapt and evolve.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

All Better

I think health has returned to the Hoy house!  Friday morning, Matthew was fever free and has remained that way. By Friday morning, Darren's hives were gone too. Yippee!

This past week, I have been reminded that, though Matthew's uniquenesses do pose some additional complications (e.g. throat anomalies make croup more dangerous), he is overall just a regular kid who will get your run of the mill ailments from time to time.  And for that, we are so grateful. We recognize how lucky we are that the biggest medical issue Matthew has right now is strep throat, which seems to be responding well to the antibotic. So very thankful!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Last Day HP

Today was Darren's last day at HP. I know he's going to miss his HP co-workers (or frat brothers as I have called them). But excitement about the new adventure has taken foot and the countdown has begun for the big 1st day- 10 days! 

Tonight, we celebrated by making our yearly trek to the Houston car show. We even ran into family friends there! A great day and night!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fever- Yuck!

I had just said 'nothing keeps him down' but I should have said 'nothing keeps him down for long'!  Tuesday, Mattie started laying on the floor with the dog-- his tell that he's sick.  He wasn't really running a fever though, so we sent him to school on Wednesday.  And 5 minutes before my class was about to start, we got the call that he was running a 103.5 fever and we needed to come get him.  Thankfully Darren was able to work from home that afternoon while I taught class and he was able to get Matthew an appointment with the after hours pediatrician. 

I thought it might be the flu, since it is going around, and knew we were fighting the clock to get him on an antiviral.  His fever had waned when we got to the doctor's office because of the meds we had given him, and the exam netted nothing.  Ears and throat looked good.  Lungs sounded clear.  Flu test came back negative.  CBC looked fine.  But by the time we were packing up to come home, his fever spiked to 104.9.  Doctor thought it might be pneumonia because of his fever spikes after his croupy weekend, but it didn't really seem like it from the exam.  She sent a note to our regular pediatrician with her suspicions, gave Mattie some Tylenol and sent us home.

When Matthew and I got home, Darren took off for the urgent care center to be treated for a case of hives that had taken over his entire body.  No clue why they came on.  Thankfully after a steroid shot, the hives have lessened. 

Matthew woke up this morning seemingly right as rain.  The pediatrician called to check on him and I said all seemed well.  Then came lunch and Matthew's fever spiked again.  I called the pediatrician back, who asked us to get a chest x-ray to rule out pneumonia before an appointment with him this afternoon.  Chest x-ray was clear, and the pediatrician's exam netted about the same result as last night-- ears looked good, lungs sounded clear, but throat was now a little irritated. He ran a strep test, not thinking it would come back positive as it wasn't the usual presentation, but it did.  Strep throat. Though I wish Mattie wasn't sick, I was happy for the very typical childhood illness, which can be treated with medication.  

Matthew was still running a fever tonight, but he got a dose of antibiotic, a dose of probiotic and a dose of Tyenol before bed.  Hopefully he will be all better in the morning, and into the day!  Never boring!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nothing Keeps Him Down

Matthew's croup threw a bit of a wrench in our holiday weekend plans.  We were planning to make a lengthier, kid-less trip to Austin but instead made a shorter, kids-included trip.  Though we weren't able to catch up with friends (trying to spare everyone the croupy illness), the trip was good.  We were able to nail down an apartment for Darren to live until the conclusion of the school year (or we find a house in Austin) and we begun our search for neighborhoods for said house. 

We first visited my favorite location of my favorite BBQ place-- Rudy's on 360. Besides great BBQ, they have a nice outdoor area with tables and room to run. 

Then, we finalized apartment plans.  We were reminded of the beauty of Austin.  This was taken from the apartment lobby.

Finally, we stopped for dinner on the way home and Matthew showed us that even 36 hours after being released from the ER, nothing slows him down.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


Just yesterday I commented that life could be more complex.  Last night, Matthew decided to prove it. 

He awoke about 9:30pm with a serious case of croup.  He was struggling to breathe in and out (never good).  We tried calming him (which often helps), we sat next to the shower (which usually helps), and then we called the on-call nurse to see if there were any other tricks we hadn't tried.  After a few minutes on the phone with the nurse, who could hear Matthew struggling to breathe in the background, she told us what we expected-- time to go to the ER. 

Matthew and I were about 5 minutes away from the hospital and his strider had all but gone away.  I turned the car around and headed home.  He was back in bed at 11:00pm.  We could hear him breathing but he wasn't laboring.  At 1:30am, we awoke to Matthew struggling to breathe once again.  After making sure this wasn't just a quick event, he and Darren headed for the ER.  There, Matthew got a steroid shot and a vapo breathing treatment and he promptly went to sleep for his 2 hour observation. 

Matthew sounded fine at the end of the 2 hour observation window, so he and Darren headed home.  By the time he got home, he sounded almost as bad as when they had left.  His MO is he rebounds about 2.5 hours after treatment, not the usual 2 that the hospitals/doctors are used to.  Thankfully throughout today, his breathing has improved (sounding a bit like Darth Vader) and his energy level is at his usual level (high), even given his 4 hours of missing sleep. 

This ER visit is the first one since April 2011.  I have been lulled into complacency.  On our recent trip to Florida, I didn't even map out the children's hospitals on our route, as I had done on most of our road trips since Matthew's birth.  He has been doing so very well, overall, healthy!  This event scared me, reminded me that some of Matthew's uniquenesses can lead to more serious medical events.  Listening to him struggle to breathe is heart wrenching. I remember doing it that long week in April of 2011.  But that week I was also reminded that Matthew is the strongest person I've ever met.  He is a fighter.  And this episode won't keep him down.

Friday, January 18, 2013

PPCD Evaluation

Yesterday, Matthew had his PPCD (preschool program for children with disabilities) evaluation at the public school. I enjoyed watching him show off the skills we have worked so hard on in therapy. He did puzzles, some scribbling, jumped up and down, and even tried to babble some (among other things). 

Although he lags behind his peers, Matthew has made amazing progress. He is just a touch delayed in gross motor. He is close enough that he doesn't qualify for PT through school. Matthew has a bit more delay in fine motor, but given his lack of thumbs, he is very close. He does qualify for OT, barely. Receptive language, cognition and social skills were close to on target for age group. In the evaluation, they asked what I was most concerned about Matthew's development. Easy answer- verbal language. This is the area he is most delayed, so without a doubt, he does qualify for speech therapy. 

No big surprises at the evaluation. We just await the next meeting where we talk specifics about the services for which he qualifies. Team Matthew is about to undergo major changes!

We have been reminded many times of late how very lucky we have been and how very far Matthew has come. Many times at Disney, we remarked that if the biggest problem was that Matthew got put out because he couldn't push the stroller, then we really didn't have problems.  And when we were filling out the paperwork for the school district evaluation, we did a happy dance when completing the 'medications' field with 'NONE'. Indeed, we are very lucky and he has come so very far. 

We sometimes get bogged down in the things that Matthew struggles with, but in the grand scheme of things, we know life could be much more complex. We are very, very thankful for where we are today.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Florida Trip- Free Day

After 6 days at Disney parks and 2 days at Legoland, we took a day to just hang out.  The highlights of our free day-- swimming at the resort pools (both Nemo and the Cozy Cone) and having ice cream for dinner. 

Darren giddy with anticipation for the 'kitchen sink' sundae.
The kitchen sink- 10 scoops of ice cream, an entire can of whipped cream, and every topping they have.
Ice cream- it's for dinner.
We only left about a scoop of melted ice cream at the bottom.
After, we all had a bit of a tummy ache, but it was well worth it.

After our day of swimming and ice cream, we ended our vacation with breakfast at the resort and saying goodbye to our Radiator Springs friends. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Florida Trip- Legoland

Our inital plan was to go to Legoland for 1 day and Universal Studios for 2 days, but after 6 fun filled exhausting days at Disney parks, we decided to forgo Universal for this trip and extend our fun at Legoland.  It was perfect. 

We loved Legoland and over 2 days, we were able to experience everything we wanted at a slower pace.  Our first day at Legoland, there were very few people there.  We never waited in lines.  The 2nd day was a bit busier, but the longest wait was 5 minutes.  Definitely a contrast to our Magic Kingdom craziness the week before, where there was a 2+ hour wait for most of the attractions. 

After 6 days of a demure Jackson, it was a surprise to see him giddy.  My favorite quote was him doing a little hop/dance saying "Legos, Legos, Legos everywhere!"  And Alyssa was excited because she got to ride roller coaster after roller coaster.  It was great!

The kids trapped in the Duplo Tiger cage.

Alyssa and Matthew with 'Olivia' from the Friend's Legos.

Meeting characters, no wait!

Jackson pushing the button to activate the volcano at the Lego Mirage on the Vegas strip.

Alyssa in Lego Times Square with the 2013 ball.
The Lego scenes were amazing!

Alyssa laughs the entire time she is on the roller coaster.

Lego cars!

All 3 kids liked pushing the buttons which activated something in the Lego scene.

The carousel was Matthew's favorite at Legoland too.

Matthew loved this tractor and was quite put out that there wasn't room for him to ride too.
Jackson and Alyssa driving the Lego cars at the Ford driving school.

More characters to meet!

Matthew rode the carousel half a dozen times, it wasn't enough for him.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Florida Trip- Disney World

After spending a few nights with Aunt Jeannie and then a few nights with our friends near West Palm Beach, we went up to Disney on New Year's Eve to begin our celebration.  Our 6 days at the Disney parks were fun-filled and exhausting.  We started with Hollywood Studios on New Years Eve, Animal Kingdom on New Years Day, and then Magic Kingdom on the 2nd of January.  The only day/park that was crazy busy was Magic Kingdom, so much so that after lunch we called it a day and went back to the resort to swim.  After that, the crowds began to die down, our friends had joined us, and we had a delightful time at Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom together. 

Before we had left for this trip, Alyssa had whispered in my ear that she knew that the characters weren't real.  So, I figured that she would be a bit more jaded than her last visit to WDW (when she was 3.5 years old).  But Alyssa was still giddy with excitement to see the characters.  She enjoyed the parades as much this trip as last trip.  And with age, additionally she got to enjoy the rides, and the roller coasters this time! 

Alyssa waving to the characters in the parade.

Jackson was demure for most of the visit to Disney. His giddiness came through at Legoland (more in a future post).  At Disney, he was most excited to be able to go swimming in the Finding Nemo pool. 

This is one of my favorite pictures.
We often call Jackson 'Eyore'. 
A few weeks before the trip, I began to question my wisdom in planning this trip for a very mobile, very active Matthew.  I stressed on how to contain him.  We took the sit and stand stroller, and the majority of the time, he wanted to push it (and Jackson always wanted to ride).  Matthew would throw a fit when he had to stop pushing so that we could go into a show or a ride.  He didn't realize that we were going to go do something fun.  He did enjoy the show or the ride, but was always ready to go back to the stroller and push.  Besides pushing the stroller, he LOVED the characters.  Upon meeting one, he would give them a hug, turn for his photo, and then go back to give another hug until we pulled him off so that the character could move on.   
A hug from Pooh.

Matthew on Its a Small World ride.

A few more of my favorite Disney images--
Our first entry to the resort. 
Our first time meeting Mickey!

Lightening was right outside of our building.
We loved staying in Radiator Springs!

Alyssa and Jackson's first roller coaster, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. 
Alyssa said it was "awesome". Jackson said it was "a little scawy".

Matthew meeting Chef Mickey.
They could give each other a true high 4!

Matthew has to get a hug.

The kids with Minnie.

A few days we went back to the room so Matt could nap,
but a few others we pushed him to the brink. 

Listening for our Agent P clues at Epcot.
Good concept that didn't work out that well for us.

The girls met almost all the princesses.
Alyssa was most excited to meet Ariel this trip.

Alyssa was also really giddy when she saw Princess Tiana from Princess and the Frog.

Matthew and Jackson got the quintessential Mickey balloons.
Alyssa chose popcorn instead. 
The balloons were still inflated 9 days later!

A rare instance when Matthew was actually sitting in the stroller.

Alyssa waving to Lotso at the parade at Hollywood Studios.

Alyssa and Jackson enjoying the afternoon snack of ice cream.

The carousel was Matthew's favorite ride.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Florida Trip- The Beach

One of the greatest things about our trip to Florida is that we spent time with dear friends, who had moved from Houston to Florida this past summer.  It was like no time had passed and we had a fantastic time catching up and just having fun, first at the beach, the park, the sea turtle sanctuary, and at their house and later at Disney World.  These are a few of my favorite images from the beach days. 

The older boys working together. 

The girls spent a great deal of time running from the waves.

Jackson sand surfing.

The younger boys playing in the sand.

We wised up and put them in swimsuits the 2nd trip to the beach.

It was cooler that day, but it didn't seem to phase them until they got out of the water.

Darren and Matthew walking in the water.