The House Situation:
Well, we toured several plans and found one that we both felt would meet most of our needs. While we were looking at houses, and considering our options, we had another one thrown in the midst. Over his many years in the cabinet business, Matt’s dad George has made a lot of contacts…some of whom have become good friends. Well, one of them, Ralph (who just happens to be a homebuilder), heard about our plans to build a house and offered to help us out. We met with him this past Monday to talk through things. We showed him the plans we were interested in, and right away he started marking them up with ways to improve upon them. He wants to increase the size of the house, widen the garage, engineer the floor so there would be no steps going in either door, make the master bathroom bigger, etc etc. Our heads were spinning just trying to keep up with all of his ideas…all of which made perfect sense, but were things that would be too expensive for us to do if we had gone with another builder. He is offering to plan and build this house for us at cost…no profit or builder’s fees. It is amazingly generous of him, and we both are still pretty stunned by it. He already got his main subcontractor to agree to do the work for materials only, knowing George, Matt, and the situation. They are hoping to call in other favors from their contacts who know and respect George and want to help out. We may end up spending the same amount of money if we had gone with the larger builder, but we would not have been able to customize things like we are now…and we would have had to make compromises, which we were willing to do, knowing how much easier it would be than our current living situation. Ralph, however, wants to try and shoot for the moon…giving us everything we could ever need and want in a house so we don’t have to compromise and everything just works for us. It is still hard to believe that we could actually do all these things and make the house unique to fit our needs. I’m not sure I can convey adequately how I feel about it. It is just so unexpected, and so humbling when people are so generous. All I can do is say thank you, and that doesn’t seem to be enough. Anyway, he is going to start his planning and drawing next week, and we’ll go from there. It could take a little longer to finish things, but it will definitely be worth it in the end. In the meantime, we are getting things spruced up at our house, so that when we do decide to list it, things are in tip-top shape. Which leads me to my next topic…
Our little nephew Matthew turned 1 on February 20th, so we celebrated with our family over the weekend. My parents flew in for the weekend and spent Saturday at our place working on odd projects around the house.
Dad worked on installing a side door on the garage, while Hope and I cleaned out some junk in the basement and ran a load of stuff to Goodwill. Mom and Matt were on kid duty much of the day, watching Meghan and Matthew run around. Fun times! We got a ton of little things marked off my to-do list, which was great!
Sunday we headed up to Roland for Matthew’s party. Meghan and Matthew were both baptized that morning at the church there in town that Hope and Chad have been attending and recently joined. After church, we all celebrated back at their house. It was a full house with both sides of the family there, lots of laughter and smiles as we watched the kids run and play. Matthew fell asleep before the festivities began…so we ate our lunch while he napped. Afterwards he opened his presents, with a lot of help from his big sister, who was MORE than willing to assist! The biggest hit of all…were the balloons. He shook them and played with them more than anything else! Priceless!
We’ve had some developments with Matt’s therapy routine as well. We are winding down his speech therapy, and will likely discontinue formal therapy visits in the next few weeks. Matt’s therapist is pleased with the progress he has made with specific sounds they have worked on, and sees him incorporating those sounds more and more in his conversational speech. She has given him several things for him to keep working on and believes that he is at a point where he can continue working on his own. Matt and I both feel comfortable with this change, knowing that he will be equipped with materials and ideas to help continue working on his speech independently.
We are also finally going to have an evaluation for hippotherapy at a facility west of Des Moines. It will be a haul, about an hour one way, but we both want to investigate this therapy to see if it can help improve Matt’s balance and walking. They also have a wave pool there, where he can practice walking with water jets pushing water at him. Matt seems to respond best to this kind of stimuli, so we’re anxious to see what the therapists there think they can do for Matt. We go there on Friday for his evaluation, so be thinking of us that day. Insurance will likely not pay for this kind of therapy, but we both feel that it is worth investigating, and if there are benefits to it we are willing to pay for it. Matt continues to do well with his current physical therapy schedule, making small improvements in his balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. This week he worked on a small trampoline, catching and throwing a ball, while working on maintaining his balance. He impressed us all with how well he did, requiring very little assistance to stay upright. I remember a time when he couldn’t even catch a ball, let alone toss and catch one while balancing on a trampoline!! It was a big deal to me!! The improvements are small…but they keep coming and adding them up, you can really see the progress. Just looking back to a year ago, and how far he’s come…it’s a big difference! I am so grateful for the progress, and pray that it keeps coming. Matt has worked so hard, and keeps on going. He is not always thrilled with the thought of getting up and doing the work, but he keeps on plugging away.
We are increasing a medication for his tremor too, in hopes that we can finally find a solution that helps it. It is very frustrating to him that there hasn’t been much improvement. Please continue to pray that we will find the right mix to finally take care of it. We haven’t had any doctors visits recently…which has been a WELCOME change for us! We go back to Iowa City in April to follow up on his eyes and talk about the plan for them and will likely be returning again to follow up with the Neuro doctors at some point this year as well. Neither Matt, nor I are really in a hurry to do that!
Everything else has been good. The weather is warming (although there is talk of snow again this weekend)…but we can feel spring coming and that just fuels me each morning, knowing that warmer days are ahead. The animals are all doing well, things are under control (for the moment) at home, we are getting a decent little tax return this year (versus the $3000+ that we had to PAY last year), and our families are doing well…the list of blessings goes on and on. We continue to try and focus on those, as much as possible…and most of the time our glass is half full.