Friday, May 6, 2011

Cole...The Confident

So the Mathas family is blooming with confidence lately. Something very nice to see since it isn't exactly something that we would be normally known for.

More to come at a later date about my new life but here is a treat from a conversation yesterday after work.... The "big boys" (3rd graders) down the street came down and asked William (our favorite second adopted son) and Cole to play chase. The boys quickly agreed. After running wildly for a short period they stopped to rest. The big boys were talking about school and my normally rather shy Cole pipes up and claims to them "you know...I am VERY popular in my school!" The big boys exclaim "yeah, people know me a lot too at my school." But, my son decides that this isn't enough and closes with: "well, my photo is on the wall of the Superbowl!"

You go Cole. Mommy is proud that you feel important :)

Side bar: For those of you that don't know...I had the honor of designing the Club for the New Orleans Saints and the Louisiana Superdome that we named Club XLIV after our Superbowl win. In an art photography wall that we designed, I decided to sneak a photo of Cole front in center for all to see. Therefore, this is why he thinks he is on the wall of the Superbowl!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

Our Carly has been obsessed with the Wizard of Oz for months now. It has always amazed me that not even once was she scared of the darker parts of the movie. I still get a little freaked out by those awful monkeys...but not Carly! She is totally in love with the movie from start to finish and I can honestly say we have probably seen the movie over 50 times now. With moving into our new home last Fall and Carly's love for the great wizard it was pretty obvious that we celebrate her 2nd birthday with a bash to honor both her and our new here is a re-cap of her birthday which is heavy on pictures rather than words for once!

Our front yard set the scene for our adventure and the below photo is entitled "My life hasn't been the same since someone dropped a house on my sister!"

When guests walked up to the front door they were greeted with my custom wreath's asking them "Are you a GOOD WITCH" or a "BAD WITCH?!"

A side effect of being an event designer/ can't throw a "normal" party!

We had witch cupcakes, rainbow fruit cups, red jello slippers, "Toto's in a Blanket,"

AND the MOST awesome birthday cake ever baked by colleague and friend Desire DeMontijo...The Rainbow Cake....AMAZING!

Favors were tiny Toto baskets with Lion's heart bubble bath, Lion's Heart Chocolates or Rainbow Jello Beans AND custom TOTO cookies done by POSH COOKIES from Houston!

The bathrooms were even decked out for the day!

Daddy's arms are always a safe place to be!

The birthday girl wore a custom "No Place Like Home" ensemble but didnt wake until 30 minutes after the party started. She was rather tired and grumpy and in Carly fashion warmed up AFTER the guests left. She loved swinging, eating her lollipops, eating ice cream and most of all curling up on Paw-Paw's lap after the big bash was over.

All the work was totally worth it. We asked all the guests to click their heels and make a wish and after the party Mom, Dad and I released a single red balloom into the sky with our wish.

Red balloons have done great things for me...the last one I released brought Cole into our world!

For us...this day wasn't about the tiny detail or the great gifts that Carly received...instead for us it was a day to say that there is definitely "No Place Like Home" and we are so happy that for Cole and Carly we can say that home is in New Orleans whether it is celebrating a second birthday or just a Monday during the week.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dear Carly

Just a few weeks ago we celebrated your 2nd Birthday. I can't believe that you are 2 already.

Here are some of the favorite things we love about you:

1. I love that you skip and prance everywhere you go. I now believe that it is true that fairies DO exist!

2. I love how much you adore your brother. In fact, you are a bit obsessed with him and I hope that ONE day he will return this adoring admiration back.

3. I love that you make me & Daddy kiss - often several kisses at a time...smashing our heads together. You are like our tiny cupid!

4. I love that you are so independent and you are such a big self-soother but please know it's ok for you to lean us every now and then.

Things You Love Right Now:

1. You love dogs big time and you WOULD love cats except since Macie isn't so nice to you you are not as fond about them.

2. You love strawberries, popsicles, vanilla ice cream, cheetoes, fruit snacks. You hate M&M's, cake and even chocolate chip cookies!

3. You love Barney, Elmo, The Wiggles, The Wizard of Oz and Blues Clues.

4. You LOVE to sing, dance, look at books and most of all YOU LOVE TO COLOR...even on places you should not (over and over!!!)

5. You LOVE your Paw-Paw. I am pretty sure I rank 3rd on your list: 1. Paw-Paw 2. Cole and 3. Mommy (well sometimes 3 may be Daddy). I am ok with this ranking most of the time :)

Why Won't You...

1. Wear clothes to bed? I mean are jammies that bad especially since you have a closet full of cute ones!?

2. Sleep more...I mean really. Little girls are supposed to sleep MORE!

3. Try to let your brother go to the bathroom alone. It would cause us all a lot less headaches!

4. Punch a pillow when you get mad instead of pinching, scratching and walking around with your mouth wide open to bite one of us when you don't get your way!

Most of all, Happy Birthday sweet girl. You are our joy, our sunshine and our sweetness all rolled into one. We adore you completely.

Next post....A Re-Cap of the BIG 2nd Birthday Bash!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Remember...Katrina Then & 5 Years Later

I Remember...

I Remember a celebratory lunch with my extended work family filled with boastful conversation of what lay ahead in the busy schedule of the Fall months.

I Remember waking up and hearing the words..."Category 5 headed directly to our home"...words I thought I would never hear in my lifetime.

I Remember unloading our belongings into that place that was supposed to be safe and protected and the words of strangers telling me that I had made such a good choice of not getting on the road.

I Remember when the newscasters signed off for the last time, the very first loss of electricity, winds that were completely horizontal and sirens that screamed for hours on end.

I Remember the sounds of broken glass under my flip flops and the hospital priest saying that "THIS is what it must have felt like to be on the Titanic."

I Remember heat beyond comprehension, the faces of human suffering, staggering worry and confusion of why water was rapidly rising.

I Remember saying goodbye to my mother in the middle of the highway, a car that somehow lasted on near fumes as we pulled into that station and a bloodied & petrified girl in the restroom that had just left the convention center.

I Remember hearing the familiar voices of my colleague and her family that gave us a safe place to take refuge in the darkness of night and the dreams of escaping from buildings with water that never seemed to end.

I Remember my son coming into the world and feeling like the pain I was feeling was nothing compared to the suffering of my city and her people and I had not suffered enough.

I Remember my son's first "home" away from home on a street perfectly named "Heavens Drive" where having family cradle us with love & support was more important than anything else in the world.

I Remember that October where thousands of butterflies filled our neighborhood...what a phenomenon that was and no better of a symbol of the rebirth that was about to unfold before my eyes.

I Remember standing in line for Houston's Restaurant because it was the only place in the city serving on china...something so simple but became obsolete in our search for our former "Big Easy lives."

I Remember a husband that became not only a hero but a healer, as a first-hand witness to a sickness that led me down a dark spiral for way too long.

I Remember a small team of colleagues reuniting and trying to carry a torch so dimly lit, while other teammates picked up and had to leave everthing they had ever known just to try and remain afloat.

I Remember I watched a dear colleague suffer through sickness and recovery and crying and telling stories at our very empty lunch table.

I Remember the joy of the grand re-opening of every restaurant that mattered to me and the pure bliss on children's faces with the re-opening of the zoo and the aquarium.

I Remember that first Mardi Gras morning the sounds of a bag pipe troupe playing "Amazing Grace" as 5,000 of my closest neighbors watched in awe of the peace that overcame us all as we stood in the middle of St. Charles Avenue.

I Remember the sparkle in the eyes of a High School student as he was presented a brand new musical instrument and his story of living alone for the past year so that he could complete his Senior year as a Purple Knight.

I Remember that night sobbing watching as the Saints took the field in the Superdome again and it seemed that it was then we became defiant against the naysayers and the people who didn't believe.

I Remember when our lunch table began to grow again and our stories shared more laughter than tears and the spectacular events that followed and one by one our torch grew brighter and stronger.

I Remember the loss of a dear friend who no longer could take the pain, daily wear & tear and the uphill battle that we continued to live through so like many others before him he ended his battle himself.

I Remember digging down deep to find the courage to give birth to my daughter in a city's health system that I no longer trusted and the joy of having a second chance of being a first time mother.

I Remember saying goodbye to our first home that I so dearly loved and relishing in the fun of every detail of building a new home.

I Remember a golden season that was pure divine intervention where black and gold confetti seamed to rain down from heaven during those magical days.

I Remember seeing a photo of myself from a celebratory lunch on the 26th day, where there are no signs of exhaustion, pain and struggle that seem to march across our faces so prominently today.

I Remember our journey over the last five years and through the pain, struggle and exhaustion the sheer gratitude and joy that each day brings that does not go unnoticed.

For that reason I choose to remember and never forget.

Kellie Hope Mathas

Dedicated to my fellow New Orleanians, my friends, family, colleagues, clients across the country and most of all, my husband who stood by me, my beautiful daughter who gives me light each day and most of all for my son Cole...who saved me when I thought I couldn't save him.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dear Kelly Clarkson...THIS is what happened to Miss Independence!

Here she is...our little miss independence!
If I would have had just a small glimpse of the personality my baby would have as she blossomed, giving her a name in the hospital wouldn't nearly have taken me so long. Carly means "free man" and there couldn't possibly be a name more fitting for her.
It has become quickly apparent and extremely bittersweet that Carly's beautiful spirit will never require a lot of hovering under her parents wings.

She is joyful, giving, sweet, exceptionally smart and adoring of her big brother.

At almost 40 years old, I couldn't be more opposite of Carly. There are many days I still want my own Mom to hold my hand and tell me everything will be alright or take care of me when I am sick. Even when she falls down it is hard to comfort her as she quickly rallies in protest at her physical limitations.

She is bold, fun, loud, confident and proud. One day last week, Allen swung her upside down by her feet and she shrieked so loud I thought the windows would crack! One day, Carly will be the ONE at the amusement park that you will be able to hear from the top of the ride and laugh that someone can scream that loud.
She favors her family, puppies, kitties, Barney, Elmo and Chick-fil-a ice cream and like all Hope grandchildren before her, she ADORES her Paw-Paw.
They share secrets and have a special language between them that is cherished and true.

The ONLY time Carly wants to stay close is night time and this has been since day one. Some people may be aggravated at the thought of sleeping with their little one(s) but it is at this time that I get to gaze at her striking features and thank God that she is in our life as I hold her tight at the end of the day and many times throughout the night.

My niece Amanda has been visiting colleges this summer to determine her plans after graduating next year.

I remember taking Amanda on field trips and swinging her high in the air like it was yesterday and just like everyone says it went by SO incredibly fast. I looked down at Carly and wondered what colleges we would visit one day with hopes she won't go TOO far away. And although Carly will probably be off circling the world and doing stints in the peace corps or an internship at an international embassy, I can be at peace because her brother will probably still be living at home and demanding help with putting his socks on!

Be free my little girl. I now know what it really means to let something free when you really want to hold it way too tight.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Indoor Plumbing is Really Overrated

So here it is...a sneak peak of our new home in the Soup Bowl! Unfortunately this picture is already very outdated as our builder is setting records with our schedule and the work being accomplished. Come to think of it maybe he should consult with BP on a thing or two!!! Anyway... love Tommy Gennusa (TAG HOMES)...super builder.

Although we are moving along very quickly it is not soon enough for our little Cole who asks almost daily when his home will be ready. Cole sees his room painted brilliant blue and that is all he needs. Frankly, in Cole's eyes, indoor plumbing is totally overrated and not extremely necessary as our current neighbors have experienced when Cole exits the car in the afternoons! (Such a proud thing for a mom!)

As of today, our driveway is being poured, walls have been painted, most of the floor is down and the kitchen cabinets are being put in! It is exciting and stressful but totally worth every additional effort that we are putting into it. We have some incredible and beautiful features that we are designing for the house like this turned wood chandelier by local designer Julie Neill called the "Savannah." I think I am most excited though about the awesome mud room space we are having built that also has a built in desk for me (& the kids!) just screams organization for tiny shoes and big stinky ones too!
Although we have not been given an exact date, we will probably have a house move in party around the first week of September - maybe just in time to celebrate Cole's 5th birthday. What a gift that would be so Tommy if read this please consider this as a present for Cole ok??!
I will post another update on the kids, VERY EXCITING work news for me and the Soup Bowl by early next week along with some additional updated photos of the house. For now....we are so grateful for our life!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Making It All Worth It Part 2

Cole loves snowballs. It is the perfect summer treat that is pretty much an after-school standard in the Soup Bowl. For the first 2 years of his life, Cole only requested ice cream flavor or as he calls "yellow ones." At 4 he moved on to "blue ones" which are most often bubble gum in flavor.

Since I was a little girl my favorite has always been chocolate which he will often ask for a bite of here and there but has never ordered one for his very own.

Yesterday after school pick up, we went to our snowball spot and I ordered a "yellow one" for him by request. The lady at the stand told me that they day before he ordered a chocolate one for the first time while visiting with his paw-paw.

I got back in the car and said to him "Cole, a little bird told me that yesterday you got a chocolate exciting!" He looked excited back at me and with much expression said...

"Mommy, I didn't know YOU spoke bird!!!!"

Gee, how I adore him.