Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Years

10 years ago today, the Hoy House was born.

It has been a wild and crazy 10 years, and I would do it all over again!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Favorites

These are a few of my favorite things of 2014--

Matthew Moment:  When Matthew said "I love you too" when saying goodnight.

Hoy Kid Picture:
Sesame Place 2014
Day of the Year:  As with every year, the first day of school!  This year was exceptionally wonderful given my new gig!

7 Word Run-Together Sentence: "MommyIwannagothatwayplease." -Matthew   At the main road, we turn right to go to most of the commerce and we turn left to go over the dam. Matthew always wants to go over the dam.  He gets pretty put out when we turn the other way.

Jacksonism:  "Alyssa, remember this from when we were kids?"  looking at an ornament for the Christmas tree.

Parenting Fail:  After I found tiny pieces of washed Kleenex all over a load of clothes, I scolded the kids for not emptying their pockets--only to realize it was likely mine.  Oops!

50 Cents Spent: The audio cassettes of Harry Potter (book 3).  12 hours of quiet in the car times 2 brings the grand total to just over 2 cents per hour!  Thankfully we already had a tape player and it easily plugged into the stereo speakers in the truck.  

Doctor's Appointment: Jackson getting his spica cast off!  I was not sad to see big green go!

Big Kid Moment:  The day Alyssa made breakfast-- more than granola bars-- for her and the boys.  

It was a good year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Thursday, December 18, 2014


Though it isn't always at the forefront of my mind, several times a week, Matthew does something that sparks me to think "this is the kid that I didn't think would ____".  The blank being filled with (a) show joy (b) walk (c) talk or (d) survive.  In these cases, I love being awed-- and plainly being wrong. 

Today's moment was when Matthew did yoga. Not only did he ask for me to turn on yoga, he then proceeded to attempt the poses.  I am pretty sure in all of the hours upon hours spent in therapy that I never could have imagined Matthew doing either of those things.  Just awesome!

Matthew loved it so much, he did 2 videos (before and after pjs, hence the outfit and lighting change).

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Happy 9th Birthday, Alyssa!

Happy 9th birthday to Alyssa.  I just can't believe it has been 9 years since this little girl entered our lives.  I can barely remember life before her! 

I am so lucky to be 'mommy' to this not-so-little girl!  Happy, happy birthday!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Last week, Matthew caught the flu.  He was the first confirmed case of pediatric flu at our pediatrician's office this season.  He is a lucky kid! Thankfully, Darren jumped on it and took Matthew to the pediatrician as soon as he ran a fever.  With Tamiflu, Matthew was really only sick for a day and recovering the next.  He was full out Matthew in 3 days. 

On Monday, Matthew's teachers commented how rare it was for Matthew to be out sick.  In that moment, I remembered to be awed by Matthew's recovery.  This is the little boy that used to be called "medically fragile".  Now, quite to the contrary, I would call him medically hardy! 

Thursday:  Down for the Count
Saturday:  Ready to Play!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Hoy Happenings

We've been able to outsource the evening routine for a while now.

But achieving morning obsolescence is new!  (Beyond granola bars anyway)  This has been a dream of mine for over 8 years now!


Life is full of surprises.  Rarely boring.

Turned the corner expecting to see Alyssa practicing piano.  She was...

Who doesn't love warm hugs?  (especially in the middle of Target?)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


I've had a lemon plant for most of my adult life.  Some years, it has been fruitful, others barren.  This year, my lemon plant netted one solitary lemon.  Much like other years, I picked the fruit right before the first freeze.  Since then?  It sits on our counter, untouched. 

Every year that the lemon plant produces, I am excited about the fruit-- until I pick it.  Now what do I do with it?  Nothing seems special enough for my home grown lemon, but if history repeats itself, it will sit on the counter and shrivel due to my inability to decide on its fate. 

I'm sure there is a moral, or metaphor, or something, in the lemon's story, but I don't really know what it is beyond the fact that I need to find something to do with one lemon.  Let me know if you have suggestions!

Monday, November 17, 2014


In Austin, there are some very pretty views. So, I found it a bit odd that when we were looking at houses in Austin, I got advice to not buy a house with a view. Sounded odd at first, but now I'm realizing that the reasoning was sound.  Once you live every day, the everyday, in one spot, the view becomes just scenery or background.  It no longer evokes the awe it once did. 

That is how I mostly feel about living these past almost 5 years in HollandEvery day, in the everyday, I usually don't think about it.  Our life is as it is.  It feels 'normal'-- to us anyway.  Holland is just scenery or background. 

Well, until it isn't.  We are jolted when we are awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of a wheezing, little boy who struggles to breathe. (Croup again!) We remember when we see Matthew's classmates learning to read as he is just now learning to talk.  We can't forget when we are still potty training an almost 5 year old. In those moments, I whisper "I hate Holland".  Sometimes, I really do. 

Though, thankfully, those are just moments, as Holland soon fades back into the background and our everyday life continues onward. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Incessant Chatter

I think I can finally put to rest my fear that Matthew won't talk.  Lately, he has done nothing but talk!  I think the issue has gone from being non-verbal (or low verbal) to very verbal with an articulation issue.  Darren and I can understand the majority of what he tries to say.  Teachers and friends likely struggle a little more.  Strangers probably wonder 'what?'. 

I want car in driveway.  I want car.  I want underwear.  I want to eat.  School. I want window down.  I want. I want. I want.  Home?  Look Mommy.  Look Aly.  Hi Jack.  Hi Daddy.  Potty.  Shhh...hide. Jump. Shoe. I want watch tv.  Please. No, Mickey.  Padme!  No!  Wake up. I want yogurt.  I want milk. I want water. Banana. Work? I dry.  Thank you.

Read the previous paragraph, aloud, fast, 3 times. That is Matthew-- all day long.  We love it and it is driving us a bit batty at the same time. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween

This is the 6th year the Hoy kids have been themed for Halloween.  I am way too giddy about the theme-- every year.  I think the kids are so used to it now, they can't imagine October 31 any other way.  As we were making our rounds this evening, Alyssa asked what our theme might be for next year. My heart smiled. 

Since we have been reading, listening and watching Harry Potter this past year, it was an easy sell this year.  Alyssa was Hermine, Jackson was Harry, and Matthew was Fluffy (the 3 headed dog).  I think the 3 headed dog costume has to be my favorite so far. 

Our neighborhood does Halloween up right and all of us had a grand time.  Matthew enjoyed growling at people. Jackson went off on his own (we weren't happy about that! but thank goodness for sweet neighbors who watched him) and accumulated 2 buckets worth of candy, of which he was quite proud.  Alyssa enjoyed spending time with her friend.  All the while the adults enjoyed the evening outside.  Awesome evening.  Happy Halloween! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bad Kitty

Three years ago, I was pretty annoyed when I sent Alyssa with $20 in hand to her first book fair at school and she came home with ONE hardback book and an eraser.  I can now smile about that memory because that hardback book became a household favorite, along with the main character and the series.  Bad Kitty was the first series of chapter books that Alyssa wanted to read independently and was the first character she thought of for the 1st grade storybook parade.  It has also been one of Jackson's favorites.  His 1st grade 'pumpkin book report' (decorated pumpkin plus written report) is over Bad Kitty Gets a Bath.  I guess that was $20 well spent! 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Happy Heart Day

This time of year, I can't help but to think back to October 2010. Matthew was grey, lethargic and dying. His little heart was much, much bigger than it should have been, overworked for 7 months, and pumping 4x more blood to his lungs than his body.

On this day, October 7, 2010, Matthew's heart was fixed. I had never known more relief than when his heart surgeon came out to tell us he fixed the issue and the struggles we had endured those 7 months prior would subside. I have also never known such fear as when the OR nurse called us in the waiting room to say they couldn't wake Matthew and he wasn't breathing on his own. I can close my eyes today and still see Darren standing over sweet baby Matthew in the ICU where the machine was breathing for him, all of us wondering if that would be our last day as an intact family of 5.

Today, October 7, 2014, is vastly different than that day. Today, our little man is pink, energetic, and full of life! We have been given 4 years plus now, thanks to our pediatrician (who believed me that something was wrong), our GI (who kept trying to figure it out and found Mattie's big heart via X-ray), our cardiologist (who treated 'congestive heart failure' like the emergency it was), our cardiac surgeon (who calmed this crazy mommy and fixed Matthew's heart), and our family and friends (who cared for us and kept us sane in our darkest hours). Thank you! Thanks be to God! Happy Heart Day!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

October Already?

I am sorry the blog has been so quiet lately. The good news is that I am usually compelled to blog when something big (or scary or unusual) is going on. So the fact I haven't posted in over a week means it has been 'business as usual' at the Hoy House. Well, mostly.

When I threw our family into chaos by accepting a full time teaching position, I imagined life would normalize by October. The calendar now reads 'October'. While I feel like I have really hit my stride in the classroom, I am still struggling with the work/life balance. I have been putting in serious hours at work and never seem to catch up, never mind, get ahead of it. I believe I could work 24/7 and still have more to do. I am finding that is the life of a typical teacher! I love it, really love it, but need to find a way to prioritize better. That is my goal for the month. I hope to find a little better balance to bring about a bit of normalcy for our family. So until I figure it out, I fear blog posts will be sporadic at best.

Other Hoy happenings--

-Mattie's still working on potty training with slow, very slow, progress.
-Jackson joined Cub Scouts and he and Darren went on a successful camp out last weekend.
-I caught a cold, likely from my classroom Petri dish (stapler), and I flooded our laundry room this week. Not a stellar week for me.
-Thankfully it appears the rest of the Hoy House has avoided my cold. I am crossing fingers that remains true.
-Six weeks in, I am happy to report that all 3 Hoy kids seem to be enjoying school.

Thank you for checking back in on us!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Just a few images from the last month

Alyssa working in her 'office'. She postponed a conference call to eat dinner with us.

Fun train ride with the family

2 of my Hoy boys cruisin'

Busy boy is always into something.  I am not always sure what the plan is, but he seems to have one!

Hoppin' Friday night at the Hoy House.  This is why the blog has been a bit quieter.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Update on Jackson's Leg

Jackson had a follow up visit this past week with the orthopedist and --- pausing for dramatic effect-- the cyst that formed near the break on his leg has shrunk.  It didn't go away completely, but is not a concern at this time.  Yippee!  Six months after the break, Jackson has been released without restriction.  To be prudent, Jackson has a follow up in another 6 months for a quick xray check, but hopefully the news will continue to be good!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Move- 1 Year Update

In early June, I drafted this blog post:

In some ways, it feels like we've lived in Austin forever and in others, we still feel like newbies.  This week marks the 1 year anniversary of our move. 

Coming into the move, we knew it was the best for our family, and it has been.  But the experience has varied for each of us.  It was a great move for Darren (job) and Matthew (school).  It was a bit of a wash for Alyssa and Jackson. And it wasn't a good move for me (oh, how I miss teaching!).  We assumed all of that going into the move and that is pretty much how it has shaken out. 

But I never posted that blog.  I didn't want to post the negative, because deep down I really wasn't feeling that way.

Though this move wasn't good for me, at that moment, in my heart, I thought that it might have been the best thing for me. If we'd stayed in Houston, I would have continued to teach part time at the college indefinitely.  I loved it.  Moving required me to think about my life, my future, in a new way. Since I knew I loved teaching, I spent some time in the high school volunteering and observing, to see if I liked the high school atmosphere. (Yes!)  So, I began the process to get certified to teach high school.  And now, here I am, teaching high school! 

Though it has been an exhausting start, I am finding my groove.  I love being in the classroom!  I couldn't be happier. I feel like myself again. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Small Victories

The other day, as I waited for Matthew to come out of therapy, I heard the familiar sound of a walker.  I can't hear that all too familiar sound without smiling.  It was a fantastic reminder of how far Matthew has come!

Not all his victories are monumental-- like taking his first steps-- some are small victories, likely not that noticeable to the outsider.

Matthew tried to sing along to "Let It Go" in the car with the big kids.
He got a bag from the floor board in the car by hooking it on his foot and then grabbing it with his hand.
He stepped down steps without holding on to a hand or railing.
At the doctor's office, he wanted gloves.  When I handed him one, he told me 'two'.  
He brought me a pull up to tell me he needed to be changed. 
He said 'daddy' and signed 'work' when Darren was at work. 
He hollered "Aly" and "Jack" when he wanted their attention.
When Alyssa got her nails painted, he looked at them and said "pretty".
Yesterday in the car on the way home, when I turned on my blinker to turn on the street for home, he reminded me that I needed to go get the big kids from daycare. (Oops!)

We rejoice in all the victories, no matter how small.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014


A few years ago, we came to Austin for Lego Kidsfest.  This year, we traveled up to Dallas for it.  We spent an awesome day playing with Uncle Bryan and Aunt Brandi before spending a spectacular morning playing with tons of Legos.  The fest was set up almost identical to the last one, and we had a really good time then.  But with 2 additional years maturity for the kids, this time we got a lot more out of it, had a lot more fun, and built with lots and lots of Legos. 


Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Month

An email one morning about a month ago led to an interview that afternoon, an awesome offer that evening, and our lives going from fairly calm and quiet to full out nutso-crazy in the blink of an eye. 

Four weeks in-- Darren has adjusted well.  Alyssa, Jackson and even Matthew have adjusted well.  Me? Well, I am not quite there yet.  It has been over a decade since I've had to be dressed to commute for work every day--and I didn't have ANY kids back then.  And if I thought teaching 3 classes was a bit hectic when I taught at the college, 6 is definitely twice that. Though I LOVE being back in the classroom, I'm still finding my groove.  I have faith it will happen and this will feel 'normal'-- hopefully soon.

This is how far underwater I felt last week.

This week, I feel like I can see light at the top. Definite improvement.
But, I'm not quite here yet.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Diversity Poster

First, I've already noticed quite a few differences between teaching college and teaching high school (and school has just begun!) but one of the most striking differences (so far) is that I have a classroom to call my own.  In college, you are a nomad, carrying the tricks of the trade from room to room.  Now I have my own space.  No more carting folders to and from rooms (and my car)!  

So, for my stark white walls, I received a poster from my mentor.  I have seen it hanging in many classrooms and therapy centers, and am happy to see that it hangs in the rooms of my other teachers. 

While I am happy to include it on the wall of my classroom, as the mom of Matthew, I am also annoyed that this poster about diversity didn't include any diverse little hands. So, I added Matthew's.

Now it is perfect.