Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baby Steps

Another baby step-- I have been afraid to post as to jinx it-- but Matthew has made a leap in his verbal skills recently.  He has been much more vocal...and using words!

'Dada' is most pronounced and easily understandable (just in time for Father's Day), but you can also make out the dogs names (A-ah= Leia, Ah-meh= Padme), Granny (ah-ee), ready (eh-ee), go (uh), and so on.  Even an infrequent 'mama'.  Lots of word approximations!

I am hopeful this is just like his walking.  I feared for so long that he wouldn't walk, and we did see EVERY interim step, but once he started walking, he started running and hasn't stopped since. I look down at him navigating the steps at school and am awed how simple he makes it look after struggling for so long.  I pray talking is the same--that one day I hear him talking my ear off and wonder why I ever worried that he wouldn't talk. 

Monday, June 17, 2013


We closed on our Houston house last Thursday.  Originally, we were scheduled to close in Austin but the title company wanted to charge $250 for the convenience of doing so.  In case you didn't know this about me, I am frequently frugal.  I became incensed and said there was no way I would pay $250 for the convenience and I would instead drive to Houston for the close. 

I felt pretty good about my plans because in addition to saving the money, (1) I would have a final chance to check on the house to make sure it was move in ready and (2) it would make the move feel a bit less final.  I planned to stay with my folks Wednesday evening, check on the house before close, close Thursday morning, have lunch with friends and head back to Austin by Thursday afternoon. 

So, I was already feeling pretty good about the plan, though it was impeding my unpacking progress in Austin, but now I feel like that $250 'convenience' charge (and my subsequent outrage) was a blessing.  On Wednesday afternoon, I got to spend an hour sitting with my grandmother. I am so thankful I had that time.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

Grandma Kendall

When I was growing up, I used to think that my grandmother was frail.  She was very petite, and had limited use of her right hand because of polio she battled when she was young.  As a child, I thought that meant she was frail.

Seeing her with adult eyes and seeing it through our experiences with Matthew, I now know that though she might have looked frail, my grandma was so very strong.  She was a fighter, just not in the ways I imagined a fighter to look when I was young.  I never saw her raise her voice, but she spoke volumes. In her declining days, she fought the nurses when they wanted her to do something she didn't want to do.  This seemed to surprise everyone because she was tiny with a typically sweet disposition, but I wasn't surprised, she was a fighter. 

She loved beauty-- my walls are covered in her paintings.  And she always made me feel loved and cherished.  I was lucky to be her granddaughter.  

After 91 years, my grandmother passed away on Thursday.  She will be missed.

My grandmother and her twin.
May they rest in peace.

My grandparents were married almost 72 years.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

3 is Hard (Part 2)

3 is hard, and not just the age!  My best friend sent me this news article: "Mom Survey Says: 3 is Most Stressful Number of Kids".  Some moments, I totally agree. 

After giving birth to Jackson, we knew we wanted baby #3 some day. My midwife then advised me that if you have 3 kids, you might as well have 10, because 3 was the tipping point. 

Thankfully, most of the day, it doesn't feel that hard.  It was much harder when there were 3 of them aged 4 and younger.  But even now that they are older, there are moments that it seems a bit unruly.  I vaguely remember that there were moments that 2 felt hard, or that 1 felt hard too. 

The interesting point of having more kids is that when you have 1, you think, "oh goodness, I can barely get out of the house with this child".  Then, when you have 2 kids, and you only have 1 kid with you, you think "whew, this is so much easier than having the 2." Then when you have 3 kids, and you only have 2 with you, you think "whew, this is so much easier than having all 3".  It is all relative. 

We thought at the beginning that 3 would be the right number for us, and it seems just right.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Move

Wednesday, a dear friend invited us over for some water play after the last day of school and it was just what we needed since all of our stuff was packed into boxes earlier in the day.

Thursday was our first day of summer, and our last day living in Houston.  We spent the morning at the park with friends while the movers packed the truck.  By mid-afternoon, we were on the road to our new house in Austin.

Kids watching the movers.

Loved watching all the kids problem solve.
Santi put Jackson on his shoulders to get the soccer ball out of the tree.
In the end, they just needed to shake the tree to get it down.

Alyssa will miss her Houston friends very much .

As I will too.

As will all of us.

Goodbye Hoy House Houston.

Friday, the movers unpacked the stuff into the Austin house and we started the very daunting process of unpacking.  We've asked ourselves many times in the last few days--How in the world do we have this much stuff?!?!

Jax and Aly checking out the redone garage floor in the Hoy House-Austin.

Alyssa and her new friend sharing a snack in the backyard.
Saturday, for the first time since February, we all awoke in our own beds--in Austin.  We have made it to this side of the journey!  We had to run errands (Home Depot, of course), so we stopped for a relaxing lunch and a sno-cone (it is summer after all!).  And in the afternoon, we played with some new neighbor friends too.
Enjoying lunch near the lake.

Sno-cones = Summer

Today, we continued to make slow and steady progress on the unpacking, but there are still boxes EVERYWHERE!

The 'library' will likely be one of the last rooms to be unboxed.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Alyssa's Last Day

Yesterday, when I asked Alyssa if she was excited about the last day of school, she responded that she wished there were 2 more days instead of just one. She just wanted one more day here, with her friends, in the comfort of the school and routine we've held for 2 school years now. I completely understand.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tuesday and Thursday Routine

This Spring, Matthew and I have fallen into a nice routine on Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

On Tuesdays, we drop Alyssa off at school on the bike, come home and jump in the car to take Jackson to school.  After dropping him, we stop at the elementary school for 25 minutes of speech, then head over to private speech therapy, followed by a nice lunch at Jason's deli with just the 2 of us.  After lunch, occupational therapy and then home for a quick nap before picking up Jackson from school and riding our bikes to get Alyssa.

On Thursdays, same drop off routine as Tuesdays, including 25 minutes of speech at the elementary school, but followed by music class, and a play date with a dear friend and her daughter of the same age as Mattie at Chick Fil A.  Nap and pick up routine are the same as Tuesday. 

It is a bit crazy, but we have grown to love the routine.  And now-- we are done.  No more therapies for the summer.  No more music class. Most sadly, no more play dates for now.  We will have to get into new routines in the Fall. 

Our last play date at CFA for a while.

Our last mother/youngest son lunch at Jason's for a while.

Monday, June 3, 2013

3 is Hard (Part 1)

As I look back on Alyssa and Jackson as toddlers, I vaguely remember 3 being a particularly brutal age.  As Darren once commented, they are no longer in their rookie year of being 2.  Experienced at wanting to be independent, yet still dependent, impulsive, struggling to communicate, and defiant. It is a hard age.

I do remember this, yet am exasperated by the 3 year old that lives in my house.  I don't know if Matthew's brutal 3 year old stage is exacerbated by his struggle to communicate, or his lack of fear, or his sensory integration issues, but goodness gracious, I don't remember it being this hard. 

Every day it is Russian roulette with his temper-- will he be okay with getting in the car or will he lose his mind, kick, scream, hit and bite?  will he decide to run away from me in the parking lot?  will he freak out for no apparent reason getting out of the car, as we have done 100s of times before?  will he decide he doesn't want to leave the store, the same one he entered moments ago kicking and screaming? 

You just never know when it will strike.  I am almost always on edge.  When will the next tantrum occur?  Will I be able to deflect it?  Can I keep him from hitting, biting, pulling hair on me, or Alyssa, or Jackson or a friend?  How can I cajole him into doing what I need/want him to do?

Looking back on the day, he is only a monster for about 15-20 minutes a day, spread out over a minute or two very intense chunks of time throughout the day.  The other 23+ hours a day, he is sweet Matthew-- active, laughing, loving, and fun. 

3 is hard.

Admittedly rusty at dealing with a 3 year old,
I pulled out a few books from my bookshelves to brush up.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Matter of Perspective

At Jackson's Spring school performance, I chuckled to myself that he was that kid-- the one that seemed to have ants in his pants on stage.  He wiggled, and tucked his hands in his shirt, and rubbed his head, and yawned (for this one though, in his defense, the performance was scheduled for his regular bedtime). 

When I had my end of year discussion with his teacher, she raved about Jackson's performance.  He was the line leader for his class and followed all the instructions just as they had practiced.  He stepped up.  He was their leader-even after he slammed his fingers in the bathroom door and shed a few tears just moments before they went on stage.  She was so proud of him.

Saturday, June 1, 2013


Alyssa bridged from Daisies to Brownies in Girl Scouts this past week.  Very exciting.  I remember being a Brownie.  We even had a tree in our backyard when I was growing up, affectionately known as the Brownie tree-- since it was grown from seeds we picked up around the neighborhood during a Brownie meeting.  Alyssa has enjoyed her time in Girl Scouts so far, and I hope that remains the case in Austin as well. 

Alyssa's bridge.

Alyssa, Matthew, and Jackson watching the other troops bridge.