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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good bye 2011

2011 has come to a close. For us, it has been an "okay" year. I know a lot of people are much more worse off than we are, so complaining will do a whole lot of NOTHING!!!
So, what happened to the Matthews' in 2011?

For one, we finally got solid answers about Hannah's medical condition. It was no longer something mysterious and very scary, but had a name: "celiac disease". We learned everything we could about it and faced it as a family.

We came to terms that Suzie Q was gone...... at least from our household. But we also knew that she had "chosen" her home and that she was making a widow happy.

We lost three family members in rapid succession. I cry even now as I write this remembering the pain of losing them. But I also remember back when my cousin Steve had passed and I was in a depression, it was Jon - my sweet 7 year old who said "Why are you so sad? HE'S IN HEAVEN!!! When I get to heaven I don't ever want to come back here!" Those words of wisdom snapped me out of my deep, dark pit of dispair and for that I am grateful.

We saw Corey work long, hard hours getting his database built. A database that is now in demand and is one that Corey has made a name for himself.

We saw the inside of Wesley ER more than I would have liked, getting Jon's asthma under control (is it ever under control?).

We saw Jon make great, new friends in little league.

We also saw Jon become a really great ball player. I'm one proud mom!

We saw Corey as he coached the Ashley Sporting Goods Team (7 & 8 year olds), and then again as he coached the 7 year old Allstar Nationals as they went all the way to State!!!

We made great friends who we will treasure forever!

We cried as Hannah broke her arm and had to wear a cast for most of the summer. But we cheered as the doc gave her a waterproof one, and then cheered again as she got a bright pink one then a neon green one.

We thanked God when Hannah's cast was taken off and she didn't need surgery (even the orthopedic surgeon was shocked and could not explain how her arm had straightened itself like it had).

We celebrated 11 years of marriage.

We welcomed a new kitten into our house.

We celebrated as Corey "dropped" his retirement packet. Woohoo!!!

We saw Lisa undergo surgery (hysterectomy).

We saw Jon have surgery as well (tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy).

We had a great time at the beach in Galveston celebrating Thanksgiving with Papa, GeGe, Jill, Richie, Eric and Joshua. It was great!

We visited Papa & GeGe several times (traveling safely every time, thank goodness).

We had a great Christmas as my parents visited us.

We were blessed over and over again by The Lord.

Wow, looking back on it this way I think I need to revise "we had an okay year" to "we had a great year".  We had our ups and downs, our "mountain tops" and our "valleys" as they say, but you don't see a tree bearing fruit on a mountain top covered in snow. It's in the valleys that you see the fruit, and it's in those "valleys" that we really grew.  We had a our struggles but we always made it through.
So 2012 - here we come!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Silly little questions

Sorry I haven't been on here lately, I had a great Christmas with my family and now we are settling back into the rhythm of things.

In the spirit of ..... whatever ..... I'm answering questions about myself. Kind of a year-end-wrap-up.

1. What time did you get up this morning?
Around 8ish, I had horrible insomnia last night so I slept in later than usual.

2. How do you like your steak?
Medium to medium-well. Corey's fixes it perfectly every time. He's just awesome like that.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Corey and I just went and saw Sherlock Holmes, the third part, it was great.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Right now I love watching Impractical Jokers (with Corey, we laugh hysterically the whole way through it). And Gold Rush.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
This will sound cheesy but I'm pretty happy anywhere, as long as I have my kiddos and my husband we seem to adapt to just about whatever the Army throws at us.

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Coffee, I think it was Pumpkin Spice (a k-cup variety) and I ate a couple slices of bacon that I fried up for the kids.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
I love Mexican, every time we head to Texas we stop at Casa Ole, it's my favorite.

8. What foods do you dislike?
Sushi freaks me out, seafood is not one of my faves either, tofu grosses me out.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
I already mentioned Casa Ole. Corey and I love Jutumas, it's a little Thai place here. We also love Olive Garden and the Longhorn Steakhouse.

10. Favorite dressing?
Ranch followed closely by Italian. be continued.....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Wow, Twinkle and the other stuffed animals had quite an exciting time while we sleeping!

Sorry it’s been a couple days since I posted, my migraine has really sent me for a loop. But I’m back and running (well, let’s not get crazy, I’m not literally running – maybe just like walking around at a good pace!).
The kids woke up Friday for their last (half) day of school before their Christmas break, this is what they woke up to:

Tiny-the-cat really, really wanted to get into trouble with all those marshmallows.  She went crazy when she poked her little head up and saw them all over the table. But I distracted her with some gooshies (what we call canned cat food around here, both cats know it by name, all I have to do is say “gooshy” and they go CRAZY).
Jon took one look at Slinky-dog and said “You too, Slinky?” Just like Julius Caesar saying “Et tu Brute?” when Caesar was stabbed by Marcus Brutus. He expects so much more of his toys.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bad dreams suck!

Jon is going through that stage where he has bad dreams. Poor little guy. Sometimes he’ll tell us about them and sometimes he won’t.  A lot of times he just wants us to lie down with him, he doesn’t want to be alone, and I can’t say I blame him.
Last night he had another horrible one. I had already abandoned my room after The Hubs had begun snoring so loud that Achilles was howling outside our bedroom window. It was ridiculous. I crashed out in Hannah’s room. But around 1 a.m. Calvin the Problem Cat decided to have a party in her room. Hannah can sleep through anything. So he didn’t bother her one bit. But I thought I was going to lose my mind. I got up and scolded Calvin who only poked his head out from under Hannah’s dresser and smirked at me. I swear.
That’s when I heard Jon murmuring in his sleep. I went in and he was tossing and turning, obviously having a bad dream. I lay down next to him and hugged him, “Mama’s here, ‘lil man. Mama’s here.” He settled down and seemed to fall back into a restful sleep.  I crashed out next to him since I figured The Hubs wasn’t going to stop snoring anytime soon.
The next morning he came stumbling into the living room long after the rest of us had gotten up and curled up with a blanket. The Hubs laid down on the floor with him.
“I had another bad dream.” Jon said.
“I’m sorry, buddy.”
“I dreamed we were driving to Florida but you were cooking in the truck so there was no room for me.” He went on.
“I was cooking in the truck?” my husband asked. Seemed like a legitimate question.
“Yes, and there was no room for me, so I had to ride on top. We turned a corner and I fell off.”
Wow, that is a bad dream.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Nothing but trouble!!!

Twinkle, our Christmas elf, has been up to some mischief around our house.
The kids woke up to this Thursday morning:
Yes, Twinkle "decorated" our Christmas tree with their undies (this idea was in nearly all the google searches I found under "fun things to do with your elf on the shelf" so I couldn't resist).

Then they went on the hunt for him.
KK found him up in the lamp.

Now the kids are wondering if they need to take turns staying up at night to make sure he doesn’t do anything else that is ornery. This is fun!
p.s. Then Hannah read KK Elf on the Shelf again:
Awe! What a good big sister!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Guess what is visiting us this Christmas???

So…… I got us the Elf on the Shelf. 

 Last year I really, really wanted to get it but thought it was a little creepy. But this year I threw all caution to the wind and grabbed one.  Granted I should have done it a bit earlier than 10 days before Christmas, but – hey – better late than never, right.
So I hid the elf in the Christmas tree and put the book out on the shelf for all to see. The kids all honed right in on the book as soon as they came in from school. They love books so they immediately demanded that I read them this book. I read it to them and said “Ooooo, do you know what this means? We have an elf in the house. We have to find him!” They searched and searched. I finally clued them in that he was a special elf that was only about 10 inches tall and could hide anywhere. Hannah finally found him in the tree.
The kids were in awe of him.

Jon immediately wanted to touch him so he could steal his magic from him. He also wanted to know why he never blinks and moves. I explained it’s all a part of the magic.
I can’t wait to see how much fun we’ll have with this elf.
The kids have named him “Twinkle”. Jon wanted to name him Buddy, which I thought was great, but KK wasn’t having that. She wanted his name to be Rudolph. Beats me. We finally settled on Twinkle, and I chimed off:
Twinkle, Twinkle, little elf,
Sitting there upon my shelf.
Watching all that’s in your sight,
Reporting back to Santa at night.
Twinkle, Twinkle, little elf
Sitting there upon my shelf.

And yes, I made that up on the spot!
I'll keep you posted on what trouble fun stuff he get's into! Hahahaha!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This one's gonna piss some people off, good! But sometimes a kid is just a kid!

I love to read blogs. I read, read, read. I can’t get enough of them. But there seems to be something CRAZY going on. And that’s the number of kids who have been diagnosed ADD and ADHD.
Before you start throwing stones at me or defriending me please just listen.  I understand if a child is diagnosed with autism or Asperger’s.  I get it. I do. Please don’t feel like I’m “picking” on you. I also understand if you child legitimately has ADD or ADHD. I’m just thinking that way too many parents are unable to control their kids, so they go see a psychiatrist who is more than happy to give them a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD, because – hey, with a diagnosis the kid keeps coming back and they get more money. Makes sense.
The Hubs and I went down this road a long time ago with our oldest. She was rambunctious, she was a little on the wild side, she didn’t really pay attention in class. So we took her to psychiatrist after psychiatrist. We tried this pill and that pill. It was a roller coaster ride for us; I can’t imagine what it was like for Hannah. I feel like we stole her childhood, I really do.
After years (yea, years people!) we finally said “Enough!”  We realized that she was just being the kiddo that we had allowed to be – free-spirited and a little crazy.
Our daughter didn’t have ADHD, she wasn’t manic depressive, and she wasn’t schizophrenic. SHE WAS A CHILD!!!!!
Maybe if we just accepted that our kids aren’t perfect, that they can rough-house and be kids, that childhood is time for learning and wonderment then we wouldn’t all be rushing our kids in to the shrink for magic pills. Sometimes an imaginary friend is just that, an imaginary friend. How about we step up to the plate and be parents instead of shoving pills down our kids’ throats and setting them in front of the tv or video game. Hey, there’s an awesome idea!
Instead of making excuses become a parent. I’d love for once to hear a story of a parent who took their defiant child to the doc and said “Look, doc, I’m not sure what the problem is, but Little Timmy is out of control, he doesn’t listen, he yells and screams, he’s in trouble at school. We’re thinking it may be ‘Oppositional Defiant Disorder’.”
And the doctor responds with, “I’ll tell you what the problem is – it’s YOU! You aren’t being a parent. You aren’t disciplining Little Timmy when he acts like a turd. He’s screaming out for some order in his world of chaos. He doesn’t have ‘ODD’, he has a negligent parent. Now get the hell out of my office before I call Child Protective Services for neglect. And that’s what this is NEGLECT! Be the parent your child needs you to be. He didn’t ask to be born!”
Ugh. No child is perfect, just like no parent is perfect. We stumble along as best as we can. But let me tell you something, you can’t be your child’s best friend and their parent. You’re their parent first!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mother Goose, the King James Version

When I was out today The Hubs let the girls do some painting. This bit of painting had a theme to it: the itsy bitsy spider.

Hannah brought me hers. “Here’s the spider, and the sun shining, and my Smurf’s house!” (she loves the Smurfs!)

Too cute!
Then KK brought me her painting:

KK: Look at mine, mother! (This is what she calls me, so grown up!)
Me: Oooo, so bright!
KK: Yes, here’s the spider and all the blood –
Me: (interrupting) Blood?
KK: Yes, the blood, I hate spiders. And here’s the foot coming down to squish the spider (pointing at big, yellow foot).
Me: Oh my!
KK: (with a loud, commanding voice) And God sent down the mighty foot to squish the spider flat!
Me: Wow.

So, this is what it would be like if Mother Goose wrote the bible, I suppose.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Maybe I knocked on particle board and not real wood. That would explain it.

Everything has been going along smooth as glass since Jon’s tonsils were removed. We really hoped that it would clear up a lot of his illnesses. And he hasn’t needed a breathing treatment even once since the surgery, so The Hubs and I have been doing a happy dance around here.  It’s been a relief.
Then last night KK started this hacking cough. I gave her some cough meds and sent her back to bed – let me correct myself; I sent her back to lay down with Hannah. She’s been crashing out in there lately. We really need to nip that in the bud but … yea, that hasn’t happened yet. She was still coughing when I got up to see if we had any Tussionex left from when Jon got sick last. It has codeine in it but it stops the cough and helps the kiddo sleep. I’m standing in front of the fridge when she walks in and vomits all over the floor – twice. Awesome. I help her to the bathroom to clean her up, change her clothes and get her to her own room (which is right next to the bathroom). As I’m cleaning up the mess in the kitchen she comes in to inform me she got sick in bed.
“That’s okay, sweetie, mommy will clean it up.” I went to her room but her bed was clean. “There’s no vomit here, honey.”
“Not here, in Hannah’s room.”
Uh-oh. I hurried in there and the smell hit me. I turned on the bedside lamp to discover the comforter that Hannah is snuggled up with has piles of vomit covering it. I wake her up and check her for any vomit, seeing that she doesn’t have any on her I tell her she will have to sleep in my room so I can wash the sheets and comforter. Off she shuffles to my room as I strip the bed, walking around the bed I step in a gooey puddle. Yuck!!!! More vomit!
LOTS of cleaning later I check on KK, she is sleeping soundly in her bed. I wash my feet (again) and decide to crash out with Jon. Sleep comes immediately.  About 3 a.m. my eyes fly open. I can hear Jon wheezing. No, no, no! This is not happening! I reach over and lay my hand on his chest; his heartbeat is wild, too fast. I listen to his breathing: shallow and quick. My heart absolutely breaks.
I get up and start setting up his nebulizer. Since he is sleeping well I can at least get it going with the mask attachment and hold it up to him so he breathes it in. While I am holding the mask up him I whisper “Nice deep breaths buddy. Slow down your breathing. Nice and slow.”  It works.
At 6:30 he woke up, his temp was 101.3 I gave him a dose of Motrin and another breathing treatment.
KK got up feeing tons better, thank goodness.
Looks like I have 2 kids home today. I really didn’t have anything better to do. Really.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Tiny’s growing up

I can’t believe my little tiny kitten that I brought home just three short months ago has grown so big so quickly. I know she has a lot more growing to do, but holy cow – she’s growing like a weed.
She was so itty-bitty when we brought her home; of course she was just 6 weeks old. Now she’s beating up Calvin, though she is still terrified of Achilles.
3 months ago:

We had a scary moment when got back from Galveston and found that the guy we had taking care of the cats had left the window open. In his defense, in the past that was what he was instructed to do as Calvin will lay in wait for you to open the door and then dash out. So I had told him to just crack the window so Calvin could get back in. But this time I left instructions to make sure that the window was not opened since we have Tiny (yes, her name is Sarabi, but we all call her “Tiny”) and she CANNOT got out. As soon as we pulled in the drive my eyes spotted the open window and my heart leapt out of my chest. Corey couldn’t find his house keys (kid you not) so I literally crawled through the window.
Calvin immediately came bounding up to me, but Tiny was nowhere to be found. We searched and searched. We talked to neighbors, no one had seen her. I finally called Beau, who had taken care of the cats. He immediately said “Oh no! I forgot about not opening the window!” He admitted to opening the window the very first day we left (5 days earlier) and couldn’t really remember when he had seen Tiny last. After searching for about 45 minutes I dried my tears and figured I needed to alert “pet finders”, who Tiny was micro-chipped through. I walked back inside and decided to check one last thing: the litter box. Calvin goes outside most of the time, but of course Tiny goes in the litter box. If the litter box was used a lot then she was obviously inside most of the time, if it was empty then she probably got out when Beau first opened that window. I went to check the box and saw something move in my room, my heart leapt. I whipped around and ran back to the doorway, there was Tiny, sitting on her back legs with her front paws up in the begging position (she has sat like that since we brought her home).
She was skinny and skittish. This had obviously taken its toll on her. I didn’t even think about how this separation would affect her. Poor Tiny. I’m not sure she had eaten much (or drank that much either) since we left.
The kids were so excited to know she was okay. She was hiding in a box under our bed.
She shadowed me for days after we returned; I couldn’t even go check the mail without her sitting at the door and howling this horribly loud meow.
At night she crawls under the covers and snuggles close up and sleeps right next to me.
Now we know that we can’t just leave her at the house when we go places, she just can’t take the separation.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The wonder that is Jon

Everyone that knows Jon knows that he is soft-spoken and quiet. He is sweet and loving and kind. He is one of a kind. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He gets his feelings hurt easily. Some may call him a sissy; I call these people bullies and pity them. He is wonderful, he has a huge heart. He can’t stand to see a dead animal on the side of the road. He worries if he sees a deer too close to the highway. He can't stand to go to the animal shelter because he wants to take every one of the dogs home.
Here lately he has had some troubles with nightmares. I’ve taken to lying down with him; trying to fend off the noises that go bump in the night.
Last night The Hubs and I were up watching TV when Jon walked in carrying a blown-up balloon, he handed it to me and walked out. Baffled my husband and I weren’t sure what to think, and then I looked at the balloon. It had writing on it:

It reads: I love you. Will you sleep in my rum (room)? It has a picture of our house with a drawing of Jon’s room and an arrow pointing to his room. Is this great or what?
This reminds me of myself when I was his age. I used to do the same thing, I always wrote notes to my mom and dad. For some reason it was easier to communicate with them that way.
He melts my heart :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finding the Christmas spirit

As a parent, and a Christian, I want to make sure that I set an example for my kids. As we all know kids learn by example, so maybe I’m not the brightest and best example to be learning from but I’m trying.
When we returned from our Thanksgiving trip to Galveston we put up our Christmas tree, then this past weekend we put up a smaller 4 foot tree with fiber-optic lights in the front foyer. The kids love the little tree and they love that there is actually two trees in the house (and for the record I have let them know that more trees do NOT mean more presents).
They were pushing me to put up the other tree that we have in storage (yes, we have three trees, shut up, don’t judge me!). I put my foot down and said “No, we aren’t putting up 3 trees! Two is enough!” Then I had an idea (light bulb moment) that we should find a “home” for the third tree. It’s a nice 6 foot lighted tree, still in the box.
So I turned to Craiglist, looked under the “wanted” section and immediately found someone looking for a tree, a mom with kiddos who is just having a tough time. I emailed her and figured if she calls then she calls, if not I’ll keep looking. But the next morning I got a call from the lady that put up the ad. She was happy that I had responded I could hear a little one in the background asking if I was the lady with the tree and if they were going to get have a tree. We agreed to meet up at a local store so I could give her the tree; she was grateful and very nice.
I told my kiddos what was going on, I explained that lots of families out there don’t have enough money to put food on the table let alone get a Christmas tree or presents. I then explained that I had found a woman with children who didn’t have a tree this year. All the kids were in agreement: we needed to get this tree to her and her kids. Together we loaded the boxed tree (along with some ornaments) into my car and headed out to the meeting location.
She was there right on time, very nice and extremely appreciative. She had her kids with her and they were bubbling with excitement. I helped her load the tree up in her car and wished her and her children a very Merry Christmas. My kids wished them a Merry Christmas as well.
As we drove away Hannah was beaming, “Mom, that felt good.”
“That’s what I mean when we say it’s better to give than receive.”
“It is, mom, it really is.”

Monday, December 5, 2011

Girl cooties and horrible, just horrible!

I was pretty tired this morning when I handed out the kids’ uniforms. A little while later Hannah came into the kitchen and said “Momma, my shirt must have shrunk.” I turned to take a good look at her, she was nearly busting out of the seams.
“Oh, I must’ve mixed up your shirt with Jon’s.  Lemme look.” A quick peek at the tag showed that I had indeed mixed up their shirts.
I poked my head into Jon’s room, “He, buddy, is your shirt really big?”
“Yes!” he yelled at me while his head was in his sock drawer. Little things like this can really send him into a mood. Awesome.
“Ok, well, I mixed you your shirt with Hannah’s. Let’s switch them out.” Jon took off the too-big shirt and handed it over. I took it to Hannah’s room, gave her that one, grabbed Jon’s shirt from her and ran that one back to Jon. “Here ya go.” I held out the shirt for Jon to take.
Jon just looked at the shirt like I was holding a dirty diaper. I continued to hold it out for him, “Hello, here’s your shirt.” Nothing, just a stare. “What’s up, buddy?”
“I need a new shirt. Not that one.”
“But she only had it on for about two minutes. It’s not dirty. You can wear it.”
He just stared at his with absolute contempt.
“What’s up, little man?”
“It had girl-boobs on it. Can I please get a fresh shirt?” His eyes were pleading with me.
“Oh, girl-boobs. I understand.” I went and got him a fresh uniform shirt and brought it into him. “Here a go, I’ll wash the other one today.”
“Thanks, mom.”

And so it begins……..

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Too funny not to pass on

Jon’s surgery went great (yea, I know it’s been 2 weeks, shut up) and his recovery was a breeze. That kiddo is great!
The morning of his surgery we got up early (we had to be there by 6:15 a.m.) and got ready – doing 2 breathing treatments before leaving the house as instructed by surgery team.  Corey stayed with the girls and got them off to school and then met us there. When we got there it was nice and quiet, there were five beds in the children’s ward and Jon was the only one in there. SWEET! Jon opted to bring two of his Angry Bird stuffed animals for comfort (technically one was an Angry Pig) plus some Star Wars Legos. We played with the Legos and goofed around until the nurse came around with his “happy juice”. I was instructed to make sure he stayed in bed since the meds would make him loopy; turns out it made him hilariously ‘drunk’.  He slurred his words and was just too funny.
The anesthesiologist came in concerned about his recent ER visit and wanted to listen to his lungs. He was a giant of a man who towered over my little guy but you could tell he was used to kids. He was gentle and soft spoken, which is good since Jon’s drunken state made him a little difficult to work with.
Nurse: Hey, little man, I’m gonna need you to cough for me.
Jon: I’m not gonna do it! (shaking his head at the man)
Nurse: I really need a good cough!
Jon: Then YOU do it!  (Jon is now pointing at him)
Nurse: Alright, I didn’t wanna do this, but (he picks up Jon’s Angry Birds) if you don’t cough I’m going to have to throw these at you.
Jon: Hey, Hey, HEY! (wagging a finger at him) We aren’t allowed to throw things inside!
Nurse: Come on, buddy, one cough and I’ll be one my way.
Jon: Ok, ok, okaaaaaaaaay. Just one.  *cough*  That’s it!
Nurse: Perfect! Thanks little man!

The nurses assured me that it’s the well behaved kids who act all crazy on the meds and the parents are mortified, and it’s the wild, out of control kids who take the meds and suddenly become well-behaved and their parents are begging for a prescription of the stuff.
They wheeled Jon out at 7:30 a.m. and he was done by 7:45. Shocking. The nurses said it took a little longer since Jon’s asthma acted up during the procedure and they had to give him a treatment. Wow, talk about fast!
We were home by noon.
He has had no complications and done great. He was back to eating scrambled eggs and Ramen noodles by the next day, and was eating McDonald’s chicken nuggets by day 4.
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and well-wishes. They are, as always, appreciated!