Friday, August 30, 2013

Matthew's Transition

Last week, we met with Matthew's ARD team (teachers, diagnostician, administrator, therapists) at his new school to transition him from his previous services to the new school services.  It was much more relaxed than the ARD meeting at the previous school.

On Monday, Matthew started at his new school.  I am excited to report that the transition was seamless! 

Matthew attends school 5 days a week for 4 hours a day.  He socializes with peers, works on his writing, plays, and is immersed in a good environment for speech development. 

Every day this week, Matthew walked into the class with no hesitation and never looked back. His teacher and the aides seem to adore him and report that he is following directions well and has integrated perfectly into the class. 

I have heard nothing but wonderful things about the 'early learning' program here and so far, our experience has been great.   

The one hiccup is that after that 4 hours, Matthew is wiped out. He is a complete nightmare at home until bedtime.  I hope we get into a better routine in the afternoon and he will adjust--soon.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I know that kids are often unkind-- heck I see it in our house with the 3 kids-- and it can be for any reason at all.  I know this, but just because I know it, doesn't make it easier when someone is unkind to one of my kids.  I feel like I should add "especially Matthew" here.  I know kids are going to be unkind to him.  He is different. 

I saw kids being unkind to him this last Spring and thankfully Alyssa stood up for him and they stopped.  Unfortunately, it has happened twice more since we moved to Austin.  I don't know if it is indicative of the locale or the fact that Matthew is getting older and exposed to more people and potentially more teasing.  Either way, I hope that it doesn't keep happening at this accelerated rate.  My heart hurts when I hear or see it. 

The good news is that in the last incident (where kids were teasing him for not having thumbs!) not only did Alyssa stick up for Matthew but so did her new friend.  I am beyond grateful for that.  I wish we lived in a world without teasing, bullying and unkindness, but since we do, I am thankful that there are people willing to stand up against it. 

Where I found Matthew yesterday.

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School

I love the start of a new school year!  This year is particularly exciting because all 3 kids will be in the public school system and in new schools.

Alyssa is excited about her 2nd grade year.  She is ready to learn and make some new friends. 

I wouldn't call Jackson excited, but he isn't dreading school, so I call that a win.  He was a champ walking into his kindergarten class this morning. 

Matthew was excited about school and went in like he owned the place even though he had never been there or met anyone yet. 

I have been enjoying the peace and quiet-- the first time since we've had kids that I haven't been working or had a child to care for-- and I am planning to have lunch out with my beloved and go to the grocery store without 3 kids in tow. 

Happy first day of school!

Sunday, August 25, 2013


This made me giggle.

Wednesday morning, Matthew and Darren left for LA on a plane.

Wednesday afternoon, Alyssa, Jackson and I saw Planes. 

Coincidence? I think not!

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Mall

Yesterday, Jackson, Alyssa and I were trying to come up with a mutually agreeable restuarant choice for lunch.  Since we seemed to be at an impass, and we were close to our local mall, we ate at the food court.  We all ate from different establishments and were quite pleased.  Afterwards, we browsed through the Disney store and then headed elsewhere. 

Several times during our outing, both Alyssa and Jackson commented how 'the mall is awesome!'  After hearing this several times, I asked, 'haven't we been to a mall before?' to which Alyssa responded 'just for my build-a-bear last year'.  Thinking back, it is pretty rare we go to an indoor mall-- I can think of 2 maybe 3 times in the kids lifetimes.  Huh! 

The kids thought it was a big treat, which definitely can't be said for going to Target or Walmart (which we frequent much, much, much more).

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Meet the Teacher

Today was 'meet the teacher' at Alyssa and Jackson's new school.  The excitement is brewing!

Ready for the 'donut run' (aka dry run).
Love that we can still ride our bikes to school!

Vandegrift is the high school.
All kindergarteners got their "Class of 2026" shirt today!

All set for the first day of school on Monday!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Years Are Short

There are those that mourn the passing of one developmental stage into another, and those that celebrate that transition.  I have always seen myself as a 'celebrater'. 

First day of kindergarten for Alyssa-- jumped for joy! (She was so excited-- how could I not?)
The first day of school this year-- so very exciting! (well, every year, but new schools this year!)
This first year with all 3 kids in the public school system-- time to celebrate! 
Matthew hitting every stage (walking, talking, using a spoon)--  over the moon!

Since I usually do celebrate that next step, I am surprised by the mournful feeling I have about the not-so-big transitions.  Alyssa wants to listen to Kids Bop on the radio instead of Disney or Sesame Street.  Jackson lost his first tooth, and now is starting to have the awkward older kid smile. No longer is the television of choice Mickey Mouse or Sesame Street or Super Why, but is Phineas and Ferb and Scooby-Doo.

These are just the most recent examples of the moments that make me remember that the years are short even though the days feel long.  I celebrate the kids getting older, more mature, more independent, but remember back with fondness (and a little sadness) of the little girl who said 'thankyouwelcome' as one word and the little boy who liked to play 'piddows'. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

'Mama' and 'Dadda'

Matthew has gotten quite proficient at saying "momma" and "dadda".  We were in Target this past weekend, and as he was walking up to Darren, he said 'da-da'.  It was so pronounced and clear, it gave me goosebumps.

And 'ma-ma' has made a come back after a very long absence.  He now says it when he wants to show me something-- an excited 'ma-ma' or when he wants something-- a whining 'ma-ma'.  I am awed (and a little saddened) that he's so proficient in using it in a whine given he's only been using it full time for about 10 days now. 

He just keeps adding words and phrases.  This week, he's added:

'I'm okay'  (should he fall or something)
'Bless you' (any time someone sneezes)
'I go'

It may not always be clear, or understandable outside of context, but it is awesome in the true sense of the word.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Random Bits

Random summer bits--

-During the trip and since, Alyssa has emphatically told me how much the powerball jackpot was every time she saw a sign. "Did you see that?  60 million dollars!  That is a lot of money!"

Alyssa was an instant winner (and got 50 points) at our grocery store. 
She was almost as excited as if she won the powerball.
-I have been excited to see that Matthew has recently started playing with cars.  When he had no interest, I was getting a little sad that our big bin of cars may be enjoying their last days of play, but they are currently the toy-de-jour.

-I was feeling a bit guilty this morning that I hadn't planned an outing for the day and have been pretty much letting the kids do their own thing this morning.  Sometimes this 'free play' backfires on me in a big way when the kids start bickering and so on.  Then I heard 'music' coming from Alyssa's room.  They had formed their own rock band, with Jackson on guitar, Matthew on the drums, and Alyssa as the singer. Since the picture, they have moved to Jackson's room where they constructed a stage, with curtain and speakers made of blankets and pillows.  Darren is in for quite a show when he gets home.

-Matthew has more and more verbal communication.  Within the last week, we've heard "I go e" (for "I go eat", with the food sign), "Leme go" (for "Let me go" when Darren was hugging on him tight), and a handful of other singular words.  I'm not sure strangers would be able to recognize it all, but his 'thank you' is getting pretty understandable.  This is a huge leap forward and gives us great hope that in time, with likely years more speech therapy, that Matthew will be able to communicate verbally with everyone!

-Less than 2 weeks till school starts.  I am excited but know it is going to hit us like a ton of bricks.  Later this week, we have new family orientation at the school and a play date for soon to be kindergartners (Jackson).  Next week, we have another play date and meet the teacher.  We need to practice our bike ride to/from school once or twice more, but we are close to being ready!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Pediatrician

One of the first questions almost everyone asked when we told them we were moving to Austin-- 'What about Matthew's doctors?'  Heck, it was one of the first questions we considered when God kept tapping us on the shoulder to come to Austin. 

Our initial decision was (and still is) that we will keep Matthew's specialists in Houston, while finding a pediatrician in Austin.  The rationale is that (thankfully) we see specialists on average once or twice a year, on a non-emergency basis, while we see the pediatrician much more frequently and on a much more urgent basis.  As well, Matthew's specialists all know his history, have walked this journey with us, and they know that we aren't exaggerating (and I'm not usually an over-reacting parent). 

We will miss our Houston pediatrician very much and he will always have a place in our hearts. I wept big tears when I said good-bye to his office, but out of necessity, we have found a new pediatrician here in Austin.  This particular practice comes well recommended by parents in our new neighborhood. All the doctors in the practice did their residencies at Texas Children's, and the doctor I interviewed recognized many of the names on Matthew's master list of specialists.  She seemed very interested in Matthew's unique case, so I'm hopeful this will be the right fit.  Though I hope it is, if it isn't for whatever reason, I have a backup recommendation.

As for hospitalizations, if possible, we will likely go to Houston (one of the top children's hospitals in the nation) but do have a local (regional) children's hospital here in Austin for issues that just can't wait the 3 hour drive (like the early, early morning, horrible case of croup).  

So, that's the plan we cooked up that allowed us to make the move to Austin.  Of course, we will revise when/if necessary for the good of Matthew.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Happy August!

When Alyssa looked at the calendar this morning, she exclaimed "Wo-hoo!  It's August! Only 25 more days till school starts!"  I'm equally as excited, with a tad bit of dread thrown in. 

We've been back from our summer road trip adventure for over 3 weeks and we've just about exhausted our available summer fun, especially when it is over 100 degrees outside almost every afternoon.  We've played with play dough, played outside, gone to the park, gone to the pool, had lunch outside, done crafts, practiced our school work, baked with the easy bake oven, played games, watched educational television, practiced our bike ride to school, played Wii, watched non-educational television, read books, had a few playdates, done puzzles, played with our toys, thrown the ball for the dog, done chores, fought with one another, cried a bit, laughed a bunch, and we've done it all over and over again.  I'm ready for school to start.

But... school here starts 30 minutes earlier than school in Cypress.  So, we'll have to figure out, for the first time since the kids were babies, how to start our day 30 minutes earlier.  Hence, the bit of dread. 

Play Dough-- keeps them occupied but the clean up isn't fun.

The $3 Easy Bake Oven was worth it for the fun to make, but not the greatest tasting cookies.

TV-- ahhh, a few minutes of quiet.
Have to hang at the pool...because of the next picture!

Hot, hot, hot!
But not humid!