Wishes DO come true...our FAMILY in FLORIDA!! :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

matthew and the drs....

well, we took matthew to the pulmologist today and he is now on ORAL STEROIDS & antibiotic....we also had to go get an XRAY at the hospital today...poor little guy! he has been sick now since the 12 of nov!!! more than 2 weeks and she said he was STILL WHEEZING ALL OVER!!!! sooo, onto more suctioning and more nebtreatments!! i know he must be SICK OF THEM!! :( BUT since we were there, we ended up going UP to the PICU to see if there were any nurses out there that we knew and THERE WAS!!! first i thought that maybe nobody was there but then i hear, "MRS G?" and i turn around and there was this nurse that had been one of matthews FIRST nurses and it was soooo nice to see him! and we saw another nurse (he scared this nurse when he was a baby by pulling out his VENT on her shift EARLY in the am!! i will NEVER forget that!) and then one other nurse and a dr z!! was very nice to see all of them....they were such a BIG part of matthew and our life that it was great to see them!!!! :) and they all remembered matthew and were happy to see him!! he was playing it up for all he was worth with his lip and such....and while i was there, i met another mom who's child has TAPVR just like matthew...she is going thru all the life changing events that we went heart goes out to her and her family as they learn to deal with all that comes with having a CHD child.....i will be praying for this family because it can be so stressful....

on a lighter note, there are so many events that are happening during december! we have 3 holiday parties to go to and another STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT event next week! and of course the MOST important event.....JAMES IS COMING HOME AROUND DEC 19TH OR 20TH, GOD WILLING!!!!!!! i am sooooooo excited and i can't WAIT to see the looks on my kiddos faces when they see dad!!!! i have not told alex yet because i don't want anything to change....i am HOPING that all goes well and we are able to surpise him!!
wowowow, about 19 days left......

also, i JUST found a forum for families/friends of CAMP BUCCA!! that is AWESOME because it is a way to CONNECT with others with loved ones there....and i also found anther place where it is ALL about the military families....FINALLY getting out there to connect with others....sooo, all those viewing my BLOG from those sites...WELCOME and i am glad you came by to "meet" my family and stay tuned for updates from my dh and pictures!!!! GOD BLESS...

Thursday, November 29, 2007


hey everyone!! i hope everyone is doing GREAT!! as for us, we are just hanging out with our little colds....we take matthew to his pulmonologist because he has not gotten over his in OVER 2 WEEKS!!! sooo, off we go!!

well, james recenlty sent me some pics of him and his gang....i am so happy that they DO do things out there like......PLAY FOOTBALL!! so he sent me some pics of him and his guys playing football out there before work!! i am so happy because he LOOKS like he is having a GREAT TIME!! anything to make him happy makes me happy! although he did tell me he was rather SORE afterwards!!! oh well...that is the price you pay when you are getting on in your years....JUST KIDDING BABE!! OK, HERE THEY ARE...








have i said how PROUD i am of my husband??? because i AM and i am behind him a 100%!! he is just something else!! i can't WAIT to see him, GOD has been 3 months + since i saw him....i think about how he will react when he sees his SON JOSHUA who he last saw when he was 2 days OLD!!!! my little guy is now 14 WEEKS old!!! and he is GROWING (11 lbs 6 oz & 23" long as of yesterday!!) i can't wait for that happy occation!! he already told me what he wants to EAT when he gets home!! well, here he is sending some holiday greetting from over there!!





Wednesday, November 28, 2007


yayayayayay!!! today we went to his and matthews CARDIOLOGIST to get him checked out and after a THOROUGH exam including a ECHO....he is in the CLEAR and she said his heart and everything looks WONDERFUL!!!! YIPPPPEEEE!!!! such a relief! he was such a TROOPER too!

and my little matthew is FAMOUS!!! :) she sat down and looked at her notes and noticed that i had a child with she asks me: "so, is this child alive?" i said "yes, he is 3 years old!!" she asked me "what is his name?" and when i told her she was like,"hey that sounds familiar..." and she started to ask me some questions and then she said "was he there at methodist and was pulled off of life support to die?" i said, "yes" and she started to remember!! she said they STILL talk about him there at the hospital!!! she was REALLY amazed!! she will be his cardiologist and was excited to be!! she has A LOT of reading to do!!! but she will meeting him on the 7th, GOD WILLING....she said she heard A LOT about him so she is excited to meet him!!! and my little guy is popular!! now, i SURE wish it was for something else but i am soooo happy to hear that he has touched so many lives and that he still lives in their hearts and memories!!

today we went to the MENDED LITTLE HEARTS meeting and it was REALLY nice!! we totally enjoyed ourselve and a GREAT friend of ours went too!! it was REALLY nice to see her!!!! i missed talking to her and can't wait to get back into the swing of things...

anyway, the days are coming faster and GOD WILLING james will be home soon for a visit...oh, i am COUNTING THE DAYS!!!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

playing checkers with dad...

what a BEAUTIFUL SIGHT it was too see my son ALEX playing checkers with james in IRAQ! how did we do this? well, we caught james on YAHOO CHAT and i saw that we could play checkers and WALA! they played a game of checkers and alex won!! :) and boy, if you could have SEEN alex face as he played checkers with his made me CRY because he was just laughting soooooo hard when dad would make a move and then type something on the chat like, "your turn, son" or "hey son! you trapped me" or whatever!! he LOVED IT!!! i wish i had thought to take a picture of it! it was truly beautiful! and THANK GOD for modern technology!! they were having fun playing CHECKERS ACROSS THE WORLD!!! and it was just soooo awesome to see! he was just so happy playing with dad...

anyway, life is going, we FINISHED putting up the was bitter sweet because james was not here. but it was done with soooo much love for my FAMILY and alex and matthew helped put up all the ornaments! alex LOVES to turn on the tree and watch the lights....matthew just checks it out....he is being good and not getting into it!! YET!! joshua still doesn't know what to make of it!

we are kinda sick AGAIN! MATTHEW has not gotten over it and it has been over a week since he got sick and then now alex and i are sneezing, coughing and just not feeling well....joshua has got a stuffy nose....i just PRAY that it goes away soon!

james should be comeing home SOON GOD WILLING!!! i am soooooo excited and happy! it is about 25 days till he comes home....I AM COUNTING THE DAYS!! those 2 weeks are going to FLY but we are going to just spending TONS of just family time...i can't wait!

we have a lot of different christmas parties to attend this year! first is the party for james work, then the mended little hearts, and then the christus santa rosa one!! i just love this time of year!!
ok, i hope everyone is keep warm! i will try to post some pics soon!!


From the other side of the world: Camp Bucca, Iraq
During OIF 2007-2008

Hello all! Happy Thanksgiving to all, and thank you for sending me emails and cards on my birthday. Just a little update on the life in Camp Bucca, Iraq. Not much really changes here from day to day, but the weather seems like the only thing that is changing right now. It is now a couple of days past Thanksgiving and almost at the half way point to heading home for good. I will be coming home for the Christmas Holidays. I’ll be home for Christmas and New Years Eve. When I was in Camp Buehring they told us to put in for our leave dates and they said to pick 2 time frames that you want to go home and I was blessed to get my dates. The dates that I picked where 20 December thru 4 January and the other that I picked was 19 December thru 3 January. How funny they said and they gave me 19 Dec – 3 Jan. Another good blessing that I got. I am so excited, but I will just wait to be really excited once they put me on the bird to fly out of this hole here. Well, the rainy season is almost here as they (Iraqis) say. They say it rains and rains. So, what we are doing at work is doing some improvements out at the Compound where I work to try and keep the soldiers dry. Some of the jobs that some of soldiers have won’t have a choice but to get wet. We tell the troops to make sure you have your wet weather gear at all times in there Ruck Sacks. We are all ready. Life at the compound is the same, boring days and exciting days. Sometimes I like the exciting days, but then sometimes I don’t. When we have those days like that, sometimes we stay there hours after our shift. I can’t say a lot of stuff about this place for the security reasons, but boy howdy let me tell you. I have so much to say about this place but I can’t. When I get home I will have lots and lots of stories to tell around the camp fire for those who want to attend at the lake. I feel like one of those Vets now that have the war stories. My stories won’t be as intense as those where, but I do have some stories. There is a lot of war hero’s throughout Iraq though. And believe me, I try not to be one of those hero’s, but because of my rank and my position, sometimes… I have no choice. I will explain the word hero once I come back home. It’s not like that, but you’ll see once I come back home. EVERY soldier is a hero!
I think what I see as one of the most exciting things to see out here is to see how all the Coalition Forces work together. We work with Romanians, British, and a few others. We Army Troops are working with Navy & Air Force. I don’t see many Marines here at all. If there here they are hiding. Anyway, ya’ll take care and God Bless!!

Looking forward to coming home, loving, & missing ya’ll,
SSG Gonzalez

Sunday, November 18, 2007


today is james BIRTHDAY and we are soooooo proud of him! we miss him SOOOO MUCH and just wish he was back home with us! he said that he had a "good" birthday....he went to work and they had a FOOTBALL MATCH to help build moral! he said he had fun but was sore...

he is such a SPECIAL HUSBAND AND DADDY....he makes us PROUD to call him OURS!!!! we are holding strong FOR HIM because we don't want him to have ANY worries while he is over there.....but we do miss him.....he called me at about 1 am our time and i sang to him HAPPY BIRTHDAY....he is soooooo LOVED.....


we love and miss you daddy....come home SOON!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007


i am so OVERWHELMED yet again from the generosity of STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT FOUNDATION! today, we went to the zoo with them and we had a BLAST and were again treated like VIPS!! first, we get there and i expect from what i heard to get admission paid for the day at the zoo.....NOT SO!!! we get there and sign in and they hand me a certificate for.......DRUM ROLL PLEASE.......A YEAR MEMBERSHIP TO THE ZOO FOR MY FAMILY PLUS ONE GUEST!!!!!!! i could NOT believe it!! i was AMAZED and in DISBELIEF wondering if this was for real!! they told me YES, this is a YEAR MEMBERSHIP!!! i really could not believe the GENEROSITY of this foundation!! i was overjoyed and just freaking out!! i had ALWAYS wanted a memebership there but just could never get around to get one and NOW we have one and i can take my boys out there!!! how WONDERFUL! so we get in and they told us to meet them back at the pavillion at 1130 for lunch and when we got there they had a WONDERFUL meal for us...boxed complete lunches from a local deli with all the trimmings!!! and then, they had a singer there doing CHILDRENS SONGS on his bango...he was AWESOME and so much fun!! and of course, that was not all! they also had gift bags for all the kiddos with some pretty cool thing in there PLUS the singer also gave every family a CD of his music!!! AMAZING!!! i am just so BLESSED to have become a part of this foundation.....i know i will look forward to our MONTHLY FAMILY ESCAPES!!! i can't wait for james to be able to join us for these days!!! WHAT FUN!!!

i also gave some other people some info on this program with their special needs kiddos and now they will also join!! i am so happy and am SPREADING THE WORD! i talk to the coordinator and she said that they JUST brought this program to our town in september and this was their THIRD outing (i made 2 of them) and their headquarters had said that she needed to have 50 families within a year and she was able to get that many in 2 months!!!! there is such a NEED for this kind of see all the kids there is just AWESOME!! you can not imagine how much PLANNING it takes to go out for the day ANYWHERE with a special needs kiddo!! for us, we had to make sure we had his TUBE FEEDS, HIS MEDS, HIS SUCTION MACHINE, HIS OXYGEN, and all the other small things that he needs on a daily basis! you can NEVER just grab him and take off somewhere!! during the day, he gets FOUR different times where he has his meds, THREE feeds during the day, & just monitoring his oxygen, secretions and suctioning like today since he was SICK! you just add that much more! but we are going to TRY so hard to do this once a month with this WONDERFUL organization.....THANK YOU STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT!!!

here are the boys at the ZOO enterance!!

here is matthew wanting the animals behind the bars!! HE HAD A BLAST!!

here is alex measuring up to a MONKEY!!!!

here are 2 of my boys.....

Friday, November 16, 2007


Hola everyone and HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALREADY!!

Hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us!! We hope everyone is doing GREAT! We are doing just fine, THANK YOU GOD! It has been almost SIX MONTHS since james left back in june!! AMAZING! But we are half way there now….GOD WILLING just 6 more months left and then my wonderful husband will be HOME!! Wowowowow..

Well, today I will speak about my beautiful wonderful loving husband FIRST!! Why, you ask??? Because this month, on November 18TH, he will have a BIRTHDAY!! Soooo, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMES!!!! WE LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU VERY MUCH!!! (anyone wanting to send him a email here is his address! and for those that have ALREADY sent him an email, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF ME AND MY BOYS HEART!!! He told me that he had gotten a couple of emails and was soooo touched and EXCITED about it! So thanks for the cheer sent across the world to him!! You are making it more tolerable as his birthday approaches!) james will hopefully be having a GRAND birthday party that they throw for EACH soldier who has a birthday……..ok, probably not but hopefully, he will be able to EAT some of the goodies that have been sent to him from us and just THINK about us and KNOW that he is greatly loved and missed! He is doing fine. He is VERY BUSY!! Right now, he is doing 6 days on (1300 – 0100) and one day off (Tuesdays) and that is it….it leaves VERY LITTLE TIME for him to do much of anything! By the time he gets “home” and goes to sleep it is time to get up and go back to work!!! He will sometimes call after he gets off (4pm our time) and sometimes before he goes to work (about 2 am our time). He has posted some updates and I have placed them in our BLOG. He has also sent some pictures that I have posted on our blog too! So if you have not been by to visit our blog in a while, go check out all the new pics and news on our family!! But we are HALF WAY THERE now and GOD WILLING he will be home December 19th thru the 3rd of January!! I have not told the boys yet because I don’t want anything to happen to that date!! I know it will be a NICE surprise!!! We can’t WAIT!! THE COUNT DOWN IS ON!!!! I know that he will be SOOOO EXCITED to see the boys and really get to hold baby Joshua! Oooohhh how he has GROWN!! We are soooo excited!1

Well onto alex. Alex is doing REALLY GOOD! He is growing soooo much! He is very smart and very cute! He just surprises me all the time! I am so in awe of this little boy! I have to REMIND MYSELF that he is ONLY 5 YEARS OLD as of August!!!! Amazing! Let’s see…in homeschool, he knows how to read and READS ALL HIS DIRECTIONS for his CLASS!! Yep, I don’t even read those for him and he just does it and continues on!!! He also LOVES MATH!! Yep, my worst subject! He can sit there and do flash cards and add and subtract and he is really good at it!! He loves to do “math” while we are driving…I will tell him “what is 10 + 9 =” and he will yell out “19!!” and so on and so forth!! He can do pretty hard ones too with 2 numbers…I am just amazed! He is just doing really well. I can’t wait to really challenge him….i am really enjoying home schooling him and knowing he is doing really well! He enjoys our time together and the extra activities we do on Tuesday with the home school playdate with his buddies!! He is really having fun and meeting others that are also home schooled and there are A LOT!!

Matthew is doing really well. He is really working on communicating and he picked up a couple more signs. He is still such a HAPPY little boy! We are so blessed with him! He is also doing well in the PHYSICAL THERAPY area. He is really walking better and for a LONGER time now. He is trying so hard to walk and to get around more. He is always pulling up to stand when you are around and he has now mastered standing in his crib! We had to lower his crib to the lowest point and PRAY he doesn’t flip out of it! We are hoping to get him a special needs bed soon! It takes a while to get it so I am hoping it comes in by the end of jan!! but he is also doing class and we just got his progress report and she states he is IMPROVING and he is learning to recognize letter and numbers and actions and pictures!! He also loves to interact with the tv shows such as dora and diego. Anything that asks you a questions he will either nod or shake his head! He is too cute to watch! Well, right now, he is sick. He picked up a cold and passed along to his big brother! But we are just watching him. He is on increased neb treatments and also o 4 days of oral steroids. It was not the flu THANK GOD but something has messed with his lungs! He needed oxygen for his nap time but he is doing ok. We will just keep a watch on him!! he has also had some seizures....they have been SMALL THANK GOD but still they are SCARY!! we just PRAY that they STOP!!!!!!

Onto Joshua….he is doing so well! He is getting BIG! He is probably about 10 lbs now and he is just a CUTIE! And he STILL HAS BLUE EYES!!! J wowowow…what a handsome little boy! He is smiling and talking all the time! He also loves to play with his floor gym and sits there and smiles and plays with the little animals! Awwww…he is still eating like a CHAMP and just growing and growing aware of his surroundings! He loves to look around and just take it all in. he also loves to look at talk to his brothers! Matthew still doesn’t know what to make of him but he does know who he is! If Joshua starts to cry, then matthew will start to cry, then alex will start to yell and then I lose my MIND!! Yep, they all go on at the SAME TIME!!!!! Gggrrrr…matthew thinks it is the FUNNIEST THING to hear him cry!!!! anyway, he is doing GREAT!!

And onto me!! Yep, for me, I am doing FINE!!!! I am just enjoying my little family and missing my husband!!! Wow, It is hard to BELIEVE that it has been almost SIX MONTHS that james has been gone! Wowowowow…….people have asked me how I did it and HOW I always keep a positive attitude and a HAPPY attitude and I have to say that thru GOD it has keep me going and also that I could have it SO MUCH WORST!! I try HARD not to complain about ANYTHING that is going on because right now, I get the PRIVILEGE and the BLESSING to see, hear, and touch my babies and my family and friends and my beautiful husband does NOT have that right now and is SOOOO FAR AWAY from all that he loves…how can I complain about ANYTHING and how can I even THINK about being sad or upset? James and I mad a promise to each other that we would be HAPPY and we would not be UPSET with the separation of each other. Instead we would do our BEST to keep it up beat and just PRAY for the day that we can be together again as a family. And it has WORKED!! We talk on the phone and there is no tears just happy news back and forth. Our emails and letters are the same thing, just what is going on in our lives and how much we love and miss each other. It makes a difference I think, than if we were miserable and just down and out….i personally prefer it this way! It makes the days go by FASTER and just doing our best to keep the attitude for our family!!! J but I am doing fine. I have been dealing a TON with my fibromyalgia right now and it has been hard to sleep and just walk in the morning especially. It is hard to get up in the morning from bed!!! But all is well. I am just waiting for the time my family is completely TOGETHER!!! I have been sending james a carepackage every week and he has LOVED IT SOOOO MUCH! They have a small px for hundreds of soldiers (pictures in the blog of it) and they don’t get the little extras that we take for granted. So I send him tons of junk food and he told me that it really perks him up when he sees the boxes! He also get tons of crafts from the boys and also pictures of the boys. It makes me and the boys feel better when we get a box together for daddy!! We miss him so much! And we just got a care package from him and we are soooo excited!! My husband sent us some AWESOME BRACELETS that he MADE FOR US!! So awesome! And then he sent 3 little bears for each of the boys with t shirts on them with CAMP BUCCA on them. He sent us some iraq money, some cookies from there and a newspaper! He also sent us a card with a beautiful letter. He has been sending us cards and letters all the time….i am just SOOOOO BLESSED to have him as my HUSBAND…THANK YOU GOD!

Well, the new thing in our life is a GREAT foundation called THE STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT FOUNDATION…..we enrolled back in September and just got accepted in October and we have already done an event with them. They provided us with tickets to see ELMO LIVE and what a BLAST my boys had!!! We are also going to the ZOO tomorrow and wow, it sounds like they are going to be treating us like ROYALTY!! They will pull out all the stops for us!! It is a GREAT foundation and just a great way of getting the families with special needs together and OUT and helping them to have a ‘normal’ life!! James is so happy that they are helping and that his boys are having such a great time!! Here is the website for the organization:

And MENDED LITTLE HEARTS is off and running now and I am sooo happy about it! They are a great bunch of families all pulled together due to our kiddos born with a CHD!! Slowly but surely the word is getting out and it is GROWING!!! Check out their website:

Well, that is it for now….not to long but hey, I am TIRED and have an infant that keeps me up late!! J there has been so many FIRST this year that is hard to believe that this year is ALMOST OVER!!! We went from a family of 4 to a family of 5, from a family together to a family apart…..birthdays, milestones etc just things that we are doing on two different countries…..WE PRAY THAT THIS WILL BE OVER SOON and JAMES will be HOME where he BELONGS!!

Anyway, we are so proud of him and we miss and love him very much. THANK YOU ALL for all your PRAYERS AND THOUGHTS for HIM as well as matthew and all of us. They are very appreciated!! THANK YOU!

Please think and Pray for ALL OUR SOLDIERS near and far especially those that are FAR AWAY from their loved ones during this holiday season......i know we will have a place at our table for THANKSGIVING for my husband to remind us that we are missing a VITAL part of our family that day!! OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH HIM AND ALL OF OUR SOLDIERS....

take care everyone and GOD BLESS!!

tons of love,

James, Maria, Alex, Matthew, & Joshua

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


hello all!! just wanted to share with you some cuteness!! he is getting big and such a cutie!! i will need to download some of him talking!!! ENJOY!

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

Saturday, November 10, 2007


WOWOWOWOWOWOW!!! we got to go see ELMO MAKES MUSIC today and it was just WONDERFUL!! we had soooo much fun! it was all provided for us by the STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT FOUNDATION! here is a clip of what they do:

When a child is diagnosed with a serious illness, the day-to-day joys of childhood take a back seat to the rigors of treatment and hospitalization. For more than two decades, Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation has dedicated itself to improving the quality of life for children with serious medical conditions by providing entertainment, education and family activities that help them cope with the pain, fear and isolation of prolonged illness.

We understand what families go through when a child is sick, and how important it is to find relief from constant worry and isolation. Our programs have been proven to distract children from their pain, help them better understand and manage their illnesses, and connect families with others facing similar challenges so that no one feels alone.

we JUST enrolled in this program and they called us last week to ask if we were interested in going.....OF COURSE with both my boys i said YES! we were sooooo grateful to them! they provided us 4 tickets, parking, a goody bag for the boys and some drinks and hotdogs for all of us!! soooooo nice and was AMAZING....i don't think we could have done that without them...the boys (and mom) and a BLAST and it was just soooooo much fun! we had never been to one of those before and i was really happy with it! SO THANK YOU STARLIGHT STARBRIGHT for such a WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE!!!! :) all that was missing was JAMES....

here are some pics....not the best but....

Thursday, November 08, 2007


hey all....just wanted to share some new pics from james!! these are some of the buildings that are on his BASE CAMP BUCCA....please enjoy and pray for him and all our soldiers!!




THIS IS THE PX THERE....if you don't know, the PX is a small place to SHOP and that is ALL they have there to get any and all that is why they need people to send them stuff (soap, deodorant, shampoo etc) because they don't have too much available there and there are HUNDREDS of soldiers on that base!!