Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happiness Is...

Spending time with friends from afar.

My 4 fingered little man turning door knobs on his own.

A shopping cart just your size at the grocery store.

Hunting for Easter eggs at Granny and Granddad's house.

A ride on the Gator with Granny and Max.

Busting confetti eggs at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Happy Easter to all!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

ENT and GI Follow Ups

It has seemingly been a while since we've visited a medical specialist.  Matthew has had 2 in the last week. 

Outside TCH- West Campus.
Last Wednesday, we visited the ENT.  The pediatrician was concerned that Matthew still had a tube in place from Jan of 2011.  Ear tubes should not be in for more than 2 years because they can leave a permanent hole in the eardrum and cause hearing problems, which we definitely can't risk.  Unfortunately, we had a 2 hour wait for the doctor. Through that wait, the kids did great and I stayed calm because (a) this doctor built up an amazing amount of goodwill by seeing Matthew first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening every day he was in the hospital for croup in April of 2011 and (b) I saw another mom wig out about the wait and I didn't want that to be me.  After the 2 hour wait, which I'm sure the doctor wasn't happy about either, he looked in Matthew's ear to find that tube had just fallen out.  I guess that was much better than having to hold him down while the doctor pulled the tube out!  Now we just wait and see if the ear infections return.

I am still amazed how amazing the kids did during the 2 hour wait!
Yesterday, we had a check up with the GI.  We've been concerned lately that Matthew's gastroperisis is back (slow to empty stomach) as he's been throwing up periodically, and we are finding undigested food that we shouldn't be seeing (stuff he had eaten 12+ hours ago).  The doctor agreed that Matthew's gastroperisis has likely returned, and will likely return anytime that Matthew fights a virus or stomach bug.  The good news is that it hasn't seemed to be restricting his weight, as he's gained 2 pounds since September, and he's even on the growth charts now, albeit in the 3rd percentile!  More good news is that right now, we don't have to treat the gastroperisis with meds.  If it gets worse, we'll reassess, but right now, all is good!

This is how Matthew entertained himself while waiting for the GI.

It feels amazing to be at appointments with this little, active boy which at one time was a fragile, sick baby.  Just amazing!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Color Run

When I started running 2 years ago, my first 5k was the Girls on the Run 5k, which benefits the GOTR organization that promotes positive body image in girls ~3-5 grade by training for a 5k, as well as learning opportunities about peer pressure, nutrition, etc.  At that race almost 2 years ago, I watched a mother and young daughter run together and I thought to myself "I can't wait to do that with Alyssa one day."  That day was Sunday! 

Alyssa decided she wanted to go running with me a few weeks ago after she bought a pair of running shoes.  We went on a trial run and she did great.  So, I signed her up for the Color Run.  The Color Run is a fun run, not timed, where they throw colored cornstarch powder at you periodically during the run. You end up a colored mess, but it is lots of fun. 

We ran the Color Run Sunday with some friends from Austin.  Alyssa did great!  And it was tons of fun!  Running with my daughter was all I hoped it would be! 

Before the run.

After the run!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pope Francis Brought Me To Tears

As I watched the news clips of the instillation of Pope Francis, there was one image that both brought me to tears and has been on my mind ever since.  Besides being accessible and seemingly down to earth, he stopped the popemobile to kiss a disabled man on the day of his instillation. The entire scene still chokes me up-- the disabled man being held by another man, the Pope kissing him, and the smile on the man's face afterwards-- too beautiful.  I have seen it a dozen times in the last day, and even now, I am teary-eyed as I post it. 

The scene is from 34-49 seconds.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

First Post-ECI Therapy Day

We formulated a plan for Matthew post-ECI, and today, that plan came to fruition.  We decided upon speech only through the school system for now for a multitude of reasons.  This morning was his first speech therapy appointment at the big school-- the same school that Alyssa attends! 

After speech therapy at big school, we rushed over for a private speech therapy appointment.  This was our first appointment with the private therapist, and she was encouraged by Matthew's receptive language (which is on par for his chronological age), his signing and even his verbalization.  He is using much more intonation in his vocalizations, using them much more frequently, and has some good word approximations (for hi, bye, and new today, ready!).  She seemed pleased and I'm hopeful the heavy concentration on his verbal skills helps him make the leap to 'talker'.

After a short break after the morning of speech therapy, Matthew spent an hour in private occupational therapy, working on spoon feeding, drawing, and the like.  Whew, he worked hard today! 

Matthew's first appointment at big school!
Although he usually seems so big to me, he looked tiny in that environment.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Pure Joy

When we learned of Matthew's unique chromosome disorder, one of my first concerns was he wouldn't be able to show joy.  In the 3+ years since that diagnosis, Matthew has embodied pure joy.  

This is Matthew enjoying the pig races at the Austin livestock show & fair.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sweet Compliment

At the park on Friday, Matthew received a compliment that made me warm and fuzzy all over.  The kids were on their scooters, just riding up and down the path, when another mom at the park remarked "Your little one is amazing on the scooter.  I can't believe how well he rides." 

Besides this being a very nice compliment, it was made even better because she had no idea that Matthew was unique (at that time, though I'm sure she realized it a bit later).  She thought he was a typical, just now, 3 year old.  She didn't think he was great on the scooter... for a kid who just learned to walk a year ago or for a kid who had 6 surgeries in his 16 months of life or for a kid with special needs.  She was just amazed that this little boy could ride his scooter so well.  Her compliment made my day!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Happy Spring Break

We have celebrated this week of spring break in Austin.  It was a great reminder of how much I am looking forward to us being all together full time again.  As well, it was nice to find out that we don't need a house full of stuff to have a great time.  Darren's apartment in Austin is a bit sparse, outfitted with extras from our house that you don't even notice are missing, but that hasn't impeded our fun in the least!

We played some Wii.

We watched some tv (especially when Matthew battled a very brief stomach bug).

We ate out a few times.

We celebrated Darren's birthday.

We ate in a few times.

We built with Legos.

We enjoyed the Austin Livestock Show and Fair.

We played with everyday items that give us great joy.

We enjoyed watching the dogs at Petsmart.  

And we went on a 'parkapoloza', visiting 5 parks in 5 days. 

We had a ton of fun!  With a bit of sadness, we leave our spring break getaway, and head back to Houston so that we can continue to organize and purge our house to get it ready to sell this Spring.  Definitely not near as much fun!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not There Yet

As we have been searching for the perfect house in Austin, Darren has become increasingly frustrated with the experience.  I have been in Houston, just surfing the net looking at pictures of houses while he has done all the legwork.  He has been the one to travel from neighborhood to neighborhood, talking with sales person after sales person.  He is in the trenches and I'm just hollering from the sidelines.

Our list of desires is long and varied...from distance to work, to distance to the elementary school, to neighborhood parks and swimming pools, and that doesn't even account for our very picky tastes in houses. I am fully aware that we may have to settle, let go of some of our desires.  A month into the process, and 3 months from the earliest that the kids and I can move to Austin, I am just not there yet. 

It is hard to imagine our life in a different way.  Riding bikes to school with the kids has been the best part of my day for almost the last 2 years.  I love watching Alyssa cross the street, rack her bike, and confidently walk into school while I wait on the corner.  I have been dreaming of doing the same for Jackson too.  So if, in a month or so, we just absolutely can't find a house in a neighborhood in which we can do that, I will come to terms with it.  Again, I'm just not there yet. 

I am much more Zen about this process, probably because of the way that we came to our house in Cypress.  It was meant to be.  Our house was on the market 1 day when we found it, and was considering an offer when we put ours in.  When we walked in, we KNEW it was our house, it felt like ours. At the time, Alyssa was just 9 months old, so we didn't have this stringent list of house desires.  We lucked out-- half a mile from the quality elementary school, a very short walk to a community park, less than a mile to the community pool, paved running trails, etc.  We just fell in love with the house, and through living there, fell in love with the neighborhood.  Not that our neighborhood nor house was perfect-- it wasn't on a cul-de-sac, which we would like now but it was a great house for us, in a great neighborhood for family life.  It has served us well.  I am hoping and praying we find the same here in Austin. 

It has been a great house for us, and hopefully for someone else very soon.
Praying we can find something very similar in Austin!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Random Bits

-Matthew absconded with my car keys last Thursday, which haven't been seen since.  Today, he hid the point and shoot camera.  I have no idea where he might be hiding these objects and when you ask him where they are, he just shrugs his shoulders, holds out his hands and makes a noise that sounds similar to 'I don't know'.  Hopefully they will both turn up soon!

-Jackson has gotten smiley faces all week on his behavior report from school.  When I praised him for the good report, he said "I just keep my mouth shut".  Not quite sure how I feel about that, but I'm glad he is realizing cause and effect.

-It was a year ago that we bought Jackson a light up Star Wars light saber as enticement for good behavior.  Last weekend, he finally got his light up light saber!  And he got to keep it all of a half a day before it was put in time out for a week for some very questionable choices.  The good news is that if the trend of this week continues, Jackson will get it again tomorrow.  I think I am looking forward to him having it as much as he is!

-I was planning to post a clip of Alyssa's first grade music concert (all of 4 songs long-just long enough) which was on Monday, but the video is on the camera which is hiding out with my car keys in an unknown location.  You'll have to take my word for it that her and her classmates were very cute.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Precarious Balance

Solo parenting (heck, all parenting) is a precarious balance.  The last week and a half, we've had a tip on the scale from which we have yet to stabilize.  Everyone in the house has been fighting a cold to varying degrees, and Matthew fought a GI bug early last week as well.  It isn't really taking us out as we are still able to mostly go about our normal routines, but it is making normal life a bit more challenging.  I'm extremely tired of wiping noses, Matthew's in particular, but more so, I am tired of fighting it myself.  I was sure it was on its way out at the end of last week, but this week it is still hanging on.  Cold, cold, go away, don't come again another day!