Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"And the gift goes on..."

Summer is snuggled up on the couch with Trixie learning about dinosaurs. She has been enjoying her Christmas presents. I think her favorite thing, besides the puppy, is her Leapster 2. She played it for hours the first day and almost ran the batteries down. We are definitely going to have to look into an adapter or rechargeable batteries if it continues to be a hit. I hope it will because the games she has are educational. She also got a Tag reading system which she likes. I'm glad I got one of the sets of 6 books that focuses on short vowel sounds. It will be easier for her to actually learn to read than with the Disney books which have a lot more words. She got a bit frustrated with the Tinkerbell book when she tried to get the pen to read each word. If you were lucky enough to have missed out on the commercials for it this holiday season, I'll explain how it works. There is a pen which reads each word as you move it over the words. It sounds them out phonetically and is actually a pretty cool invention. Anyways, she ended up pushing a button that had the narrator read the whole page rather than her doing it herself word by word. This mutes the point in my opinion, but she was still able to play a game on each page after hearing the story read to her. I hope she will learn to read before she goes to Kindergarten, and I think this may help her get there. I'll have to do my part in helping her too.

We really need to get into some sort of schedule with her workbooks. We've definitely been slacking this month. Of course, there are lessons to be learned in every day life, not just workbooks. But, writing and following directions is an especially important thing for her to learn right now before she goes to school next fall. She is starting swimming lessons in January. I really hope she gets on board with these and will learn to swim before we go to Florida in May. She's still going to be going to gymnastics and music too. We stay busy, busy around here. But, we only live once. So, we might as well try to do all we can to live it to the fullest!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The day after

Well, Christmas has come and gone. Summer and I ended up spending the night with my mom last night, along with Summer's new best friend - Trixie. She didn't even open all of her Christmas presents yesterday morning. After two or three, she was over it and ready to spend the day with her new puppy. She's not too good at sharing it yet and always wants to be the one holding it. She's already been working on teaching her some tricks so that she can live up to her name. At first, she wanted to name her Pixie like our friend's chihuahua. Then when Trixie came up, it stuck.

Summer was not the first one up on Christmas morning. I was so excited, that I was up and down all night long. I finally gave up on sleeping and got ready for Summer to wake up. It didn't take her long to discover the puppy whining in the crate. Santa left it for Summer in her stocking which she told me she wanted Santa to fill, not me. On Christmas Eve, she helped me fill the rest of the stockings and specifically told me not to do hers. I guess it was a good thing since Santa had a special little puppy to go in it.

Not only did she get a great present from Santa, she also got a white Christmas. Our friend pulled us down the street behind his truck on the sled that Clint had bought the day before. We all got a turn and it was fun. But, the most fun was when we got to my mom's house and got to sled, make snowballs and build a snowman with her cousins. The snow was perfect for packing. Today when we went out, it was colder and better for sledding. Summer really hit it big this year because she told me last week or sometime it was going to snow on Christmas and I told her probably not. Guess she is a good forecaster!

On Christmas Eve, we picked up Josh, Amanda and Lexie and headed to my Grandad's farm for some exploring before our Christmas celebration with the Vice family. We saw chickens, cows and puppies. The horses were in a different part of the pasture and it was too cold to walk to them. Or, maybe we were just too lazy. We climbed up in the hay loft of one of the barns where the chickens hangout sometimes. There was a trap, not a cage as Summer quickly pointed out, for some kind of animal. Gumdrop went on this adventure with us too since he was supposed to go back to the North Pole on Christmas. However, Summer hid him under her covers and Santa forgot to pick him up. She was very happy about that. She isn't looking forward to his departure, but I've got a feeling it will be very soon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

4 days to Jesus' birthday

The other day I asked Summer if she knew whose birthday was on Christmas and she said "No." I was surprised because the Christmas story is all about the birth of Jesus, but her mind never put the two together making Christmas Jesus' birthday. Even with the nativity scene decorations she put up, it didn't sink in. Before bed last night, we pulled out a book about the story of Jesus' birth that her Nona gave her a few years ago and read it last night with her cousins. They all listened and even chimed in certain information that was not in the book. For example, the fact that Mary and Joseph weren't married. And, that the wise men never really made it to the stable. Got to love kids and the things they remember being told.

Yesterday, Summer's cousins and my sister came up for lunch at Mellow Mushroom and then went to the Imax with us to see The Polar Express. We all enjoyed it. Summer started the movie in between her cousins, but did eventually crawl into my lap when it got "scary" to her. I love the fact that she still does that. Cuddly moments definitely rock in my book! When her cousins are here, she won't let me love on her or hold her too much like she normally does. If it were just Lexie here, she'd be all over it though. But, then they would both be fighting over my lap. After the movie, we headed down to the Discovery Museum. I couldn't see any reason to say no to their pleas to go there. Of course, each child wanted to do a different part of the museum. The girls did a good job staying together while I ran between them and Jonathan.

Not too long into the visit, they were all in ready to leave and head to the lake house so they could play the Wii. They did a good job entertaining each other and playing together all night and amazingly did not drive me anywhere near insanity like I had anticipated they might. Summer would not play against me on the Wii game Just Dance. She hates the fact that I always win, even when I try not to. Fortunately my niece had a better attitude and knows that it is just about having fun and not who wins and loses so I did get to play some. I really hope Summer will realize this before too long. There was a request to make cookies at one point which I granted. The chocolate chip cookies were swiftly eaten and then the kids rushed off to use up some of the energy they got from them. We finished off the evening with popcorn and a movie, "Santa Buddies," in my bed. Then I tucked them all in Summer's bed and waited for them to go to sleep. Let's just say that took forever and the two big kids scared Summer by being scared themselves to sleep in her room which she usually has no problem at all sleeping in by herself. Seemed kind of backwards to me, but I guess they heard some noises that spooked them. They finally all gave it up sometime around eleven and drifted off to sleep in time for the elf to run off to the North Pole to fetch them all surprises.

The kids woke up before me and searched for the elf. But, he was no where to be found so they sent Summer in my room to see if it was okay for them to be up and looking for the elf. This was after they had already done a full search. LOL After I was up for about five minutes, Summer finally discovered the elf and their presents in the fireplace. Silly elf was hiding. :) They were all happy to have a surprise, but only Summer played with hers right away. She got a Disney Princess scrunch art set, Leah got a metal puzzler game, and Jonathan got a box of magic tricks. Clint was surprised the kids all got gifts from the elf and is so jealous that he says the elf better bring him something tomorrow. What a big kid he is! We've actually got one more kid tonight, so I hope the elf is prepared to bring 4 gifts in the morning.

Now, if only I can get these kids in the bed. They've been playing the Wii all evening long and should be just about ready to pass out. I bet it will take at least an hour for them to wind down once in bed though. You know how sleepovers go.....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A family tradition

This week we made our annual trip to the Opryland Hotel to enjoy the Christmas festivities it offers. Gumdrop, our elf, came along for the fun. Summer has enjoyed swimming in the pool and hot tub, although Gumdrop and Teddy didn't get to do those activities. The horse drawn carriage ride around the hotel was very cold, but one that could not be skipped. Summer and Lexie both enjoyed petting the horses afterwards, followed by a trip to the outdoor nativity. It is truly beautiful and this was the first year we actually walked up to it. Last year, we just viewed it from our carriage and then hurried back inside to beat the cold. Not that it wasn't cold this year, but this is the first time Summer had the interest to walk up to it. Lexie definitely wanted to go see baby Jesus. It is so cute the way she says "baby Jesus" whenever she sees a nativity. I actually bought her a small snow globe last night with the nativity scene in it, knowing good and well it would probably get broken. It did, within the first five minutes. Oh well, I'll get all the glass out and let her play with it then. When Summer saw the snow globe, she was jealous and wanted something for herself. I tried reminding her of the 3 ornaments she had already gotten on this trip, but that didn't calm her any. I didn't cave though seeing that she needs to learn that she doesn't always have to get something when someone else does.

Summer really enjoyed walking through the enormous hotel and seeing all the decorations they have. At night, they have a fountain that puts on a show while you listen to Christmas music. She really liked it and got to enjoy it both nights of our stay. She also enjoyed the trip through the ICE exhibit which was themed "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." We got lucky because we watched that movie last week so she was familiar with the characters. Lexie, however, did not enjoy the coldness of the exhibit and refused to get out of the stroller the whole time. She cried when we tried to get her to go down the slides they have in there, but I think it was just because her hands were freezing. It was cold in there, below 10 degrees and possibly below zero. We were bundled up, but her gloves just weren't enough to keep her hands from being cold. The fact that Clint picked some icicles off of the hotel on the way there and gave them to the girls to eat probably didn't help because her gloves were a little damp when we got there. Oh well, they sure did enjoy the icicles. The SNOW exhibit, where you play in the snow, go through a snow maze, see live reindeer, make snow angels and throw snowballs, was something Summer was really looking forward to, but it didn't open until 6 p.m. so we didn't get to do it. Hopefully, she won't remember on our way out today because I know she will be bummed to know she isn't going to get to do it. Maybe next year.

Last night, after a second trip to the train which both girls loved, we toured the craft show. Amazingly enough, we left there empty handed. We then made our way to dinner which was followed by watching the Rockabilly Christmas singers and dancers. It, too, was a hit with both girls. We danced like crazy, although no one else was. Earlier in the day when I mentioned going to the show, Summer said we were going to "break it down." I guess she gets that from me. :)

Although Summer was not the nicest on Tuesday (I thought for sure she should be on the naughty list), she woke up Wednesday morning to another surprise from the elf. She got a kids charades game which she really enjoyed playing. She caught on very quickly and I can tell it is something we will definitely enjoy as a family. He brought Lexie something too -- a book called "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear." She loved it, just as she does most any book. Today when she wakes up, her elf has left her a movie about dogs. A Benji movie I think. Lexie will get a Christmas book. Both girls will be delighted I'm sure. Summer tries to take the elf where ever we go because she said he likes adventures. I hope she doesn't wear him out on his stay, but he will be off to the North Pole again on Christmas Eve so it's good she is dragging him along where ever we go. It is cool to see her believe in the magic and I can only hope it lasts for years to come.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The elf is back

Summer was super happy to see her elf, Gumdrop, yesterday. So much so, she did not even noticed the present he was sitting on. She was more worried about feeding him a jelly bean, which is his favorite food. Last night he got to listen to the bedtime story with us, but she would not let him sleep with her for fear he might take her to the North Pole in the middle of the night. I guess I shouldn't have told her she wasn't allowed to go with him if he asked her. LOL She really liked the spiral stencil art kit he brought her. She is worried he won't bring her a gift tonight when we are in Nashville, but I don't think she has anything to worry about. :)

Yesterday, when I got home from my weekend escape with my best buddy, she was so excited to see me. She hugged and hugged me. It was very sweet and made my heart melt yet again. I had thought we would make a gingerbread village with her friend Willow, but she preferred to play in the snow with me. It is pretty crazy we already have snow here. I don't remember ever having it before Christmas, but maybe we did when I was a kid. Let's hope this snowing in Chattanooga thing stays for the years to come because she really loves it. We got to sled on the new sleds her Memaw and Nanny bought. We had a few snowball fights. She probably could've stayed out there much longer than we did, but my gloves got wet and my hands were getting cold. It was fun though and I wouldn't have traded those special moments together for anything else in the world. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful little girl.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No more spots!

Summer's CT scan this morning showed that the spots they saw a few weeks ago have disappeared. It was long morning for me, and when I finally saw the Dr. my nerves were getting the better of me. He checked the results on the computer and came over to me smiling. I knew then we were in the clear. He called it our "Christmas miracle" and it truly was. He already had me prepared to do it all over again and the relief of knowing we don't have to was overwhelming. It wasn't until then that I think Summer knew something could have seriously been wrong with her. Of course, I didn't go into all the details, and she didn't ask too much so it was win-win all the way around. Anyways, time to breathe again and with a happy heart!

Friday, December 3, 2010

22 days and counting

Summer changed the Christmas countdown calendar to 22 days this morning. She is ready for her elf to get here. He won't be here until there are only 12 days until Christmas left. Lucky for us, she didn't get one of those mischievous elves. We surely don't need any extra messes around here anyway. Her elf brings her a gift everyday for 12 days. I know she is going to be very excited to see him. She's already told me we need to get some more jellybeans for him. He eats them everyday. Well, really she will eat them, but we pretend they are for him. Her friend Gavin, who she had a play date with the other day, has already got his elf for the season. She got to hear about some of his antics when they were decorating gingerbread pops last weekend. I think the kids loved eating the cookies and icing the best, but they also had fun putting the little candies on the cookies. Yesterday, Summer and my dad decorated a gingerbread house. They did a great job, and it looks great on our counter top.

We have been decorating all week it seems like. Monday we decorated the condo. Tuesday we did the trees at the lake house. Yesterday, she was asking to do more decorating, but we are all out of ornaments to go on the tree, well almost. ;) Maybe we will hang more lights around the house or make a few more things to go on the tree. Nothing spells fun like homemade ornaments. :) The sand dollars we found in Tybee have almost all been painted and are hanging on the tree. She really enjoyed painting those although hers are painted with a single color and then gone over with a glitter paint. Nothing too artsy, but there are still a few left to do.

There are 6 days until her next CT. It's next Thursday for all you non-counters. I am not too anxious about it, but I'd be lying if I said that I don't think about it and worry at times. It's like her life is on the line. And, that sucks! Parents should never have to have these thoughts about their kids. But, they do. Every day. I know I am not alone. There are so many sick and hurt people in the world today, but it's just part of life. Although it is not always easy, the best thing to do is to accept what you get and make the best of it. And, that's what we do.

Monday, November 29, 2010

MRI is clear!!!

After waiting all weekend, I called the Dr. today to find out the MRI results. I was so happy to get a call back with good news. They called Summer in a prescription since she is still coughing which will hopefully clear up the spots if they are infection. I don't think she really had any idea about the spots until bedtime tonight. She was complaining about how bad the medicine they gave her tastes and how she is not going to take it again. I told her she was going to take it 4 more times so hopefully the spots would go away. "What spots?" she replied. I didn't go into details and never mentioned the awful "C" word. But, I did tell her it was for her cough when she said she would cough a lot if she had to take it again. LOL

Today she had her 2nd dentist appointment. She did not want to go, but she did great once she got there. Her teeth still look good. They will do x-rays next time to check for in between the teeth cavities. I doubt she will have any though since she is a pretty good brusher.

This afternoon we watched Christmas movies and made some reindeer ornaments at her request. How lucky she was that I had already found some to make in a Christmas craft book!?! Tomorrow we are going to decorate our big tree. She also is going to decorate her new white tree and has said she is going to let Lexie help her. She has come a long way when it comes to Lexie. She used to be jealous, but now she is used to her and even misses her when she is not here. When Lexie came home with Clint tonight, she ran up to her and gave her a hug. It was sweet. I'm not saying she will let Lexie play with everything of hers, but she is doing better.

Well, she wants to go to bed with me so I will sign off. She told me I can blog tomorrow. :) Sweet dreams everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

MRI Jitters

Well, my stomach is in a thousand knots this morning. Summer is on the couch watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and complaining of hunger. I really didn't expect it to start this early, but it is almost 9 a.m. We stayed up late last night and I got her to eat around 10:30 so that maybe she wouldn't wake up hungry. Unfortunately, that did not happen. "I can't not eat. I'm going to eat. I have to eat." Yep, that's what she just walked in here and told me. First, she asked me what time her scan was and I told her not for 2 1/2 more hours. This is not going to be a fun day. "If I don't eat, then I'll die. I need to eat right now." Oh my. I don't think I'll be repeating this appointment time for an MRI. I'll just have to insist on earlier next time.

Yesterday, we spent the whole day together which really isn't unusual. I had planned on going for a bike ride, but the tires on my bike were flat. Just my luck (at least lately). So instead, she rode her bike around the garage. She and her daddy raced from one end to the other. Then we headed to the dollar store and post office to fill and send a package to our chemo patient (we are chemo angels). Summer picked a reindeer decoration for the lady. Of course, she just had to have a snowflake globe that had a light up nativity in it for her self. She still has not perfected the art of just giving, but I'm trying to help her. We made some ornaments for a Christmas present, and she had to have two for herself. We made candle/pen holders which luckily she didn't put up a fight about giving away. She really enjoyed doing the crafts and I hope we will do lots more in the weeks ahead. We also watched some Christmas movies and Miley Cyrus's new movie "The Last Song." I don't know if she understood it (the dad dies of cancer), but it hit a little close to home in my book. It was still a good movie though and Summer and I just sang the song at the end of the movie together. I guess it's a good thing we both have some Miley on our Ipods.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Limbo land

It really does feel like we are slipping and sliding right now. Our feet have been knocked out from under us and we are in for some sort of ride. Dr. Gratias called on Saturday to say that her CT scan showed something in the lungs. While they are not certain it is cancer, it is a big possibility. My heart was broken all over again at the thought of more suffering for her. Another surgery. More hospital stays. More chemotherapy. More radiation. Of course that lovely hair she has been growing for the past year, which she wants to be longer than it is, would fall out. When she was 2 it was no big deal, but now at age 4 it might be. She doesn't know. Or if she does, she hasn't said anything. At church yesterday, as we were surrounded by those who love us, there were some tears shed. Memaw, Nanny and myself were tearing up all through the beautiful Thanksgiving music service too. But, she never said anything. She's smart though so I'm sure she knows something is up with somebody. I want to wait until we know for sure though to bring the blow down on her. That doesn't even sound right. I should never have to do that. But, if it is cancer, it will be fight war.

There is hope though. It's like a ray of light shining through the dark clouds. We got copies of the last two CT scans and took them to our neighbor who does Clint's scans. His first impressionwas not cancer. However, he is not familiar with the Rhabdoid tumor that Summer was diagnosed with. Two other doctors, who are familiar with it, told Dr. Gratias that they were concerned so he sent a copy of her CT scans to Chicago. That doctor should be getting it today. Our neighbor said he would not rule out infection and would definitely want a biopsy if it was up to him. So, now I am hoping for a fungus or something. Anything, but cancer!!!

Summer has an MRI of the brain tomorrow. On Wednesday, we should have a clearer picture of what is really going on with her. For now, we wait and pray.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Slip and slide watch me glide!"

Yesterday, while looking for a thermometer, we found a penguin that should've been in the bathtub. I'm not sure how it ended up in the end table in the living room, but it was crammed into the back of the catch all drawer aka "junk drawer." We must love those around here. LOL So, she transported it to the bathtub for future use which just so happened to be this morning. She also showed off her super slip and slide skills. Ouch!! I remember when I used to slide down the back of the tub and what fun it was. We even soaped it up to get extra speed. Of course, I didn't mention that to her. I can't even imagine it being remotely fun now; more like painful. But, she was having the time of her life, splashing down into the water. She even made up a few different slides which were really all basically the same but with new words.

Speaking of the thermometer, she had a slight fever yesterday morning which got up to about 100.5. Her Memaw medicated her with grape-bubblegum flavored Ibuprofen (a mix) which she did not put up a fuss about. Grape absolutely has to be the best flavor invented for medicine. When I was a kid, it was the orange Triaminic and baby aspirin flavors that I liked best. I don't understand the awful cherry kind though. Do some kids actually enjoy it? Her fever went down and only went up to 99.2 later in the day. She mostly laid around all morning watching TV with me and Lexie. Her first pic was "Frosty the Snowman." Lexie got the next few pics with various Barney movies. I am so glad Summer still enjoys him too. He is so wholesome and also educational. Plus, I know all the songs. LOL Later in the day, I chose the movie "Elf" since it is one of my favorite Christmas movies. Summer enjoyed it too. She has not mentioned decorating for Christmas again, so we may actually hold off until after Thanksgiving this year. That is, unless I find the perfect tree while out shopping one day.

The home-preschooling is going good. She usually always likes to work in her workbooks. She even asked to do that first thing this morning, but then decided a bath with the newly found toy would be more fun. She is getting dressed now which she usually always does by herself. Sometimes she will ask me to help her, but she almost always picks out her own clothes. She definitely has a style of her own. She absolutely loves to stand on her toy box and dig through all the clothes in the closet which are usually new or dresses. She always manages to find the ones I hang in the back that are too big or off season. I'm never surprised when I see her walk out of her room in a dress that won't actually fit for a year or two. She wears a 5 or 6, but sometimes will even wear a 7/8. It's my fault though. I love to shop ahead and usually buy all of her clothes on clearance or at consignment sales. I guess that's one reason I don't care if she has too many because they are all so cheap! I've already got swimsuits for next year and gymnastics leotards for a few years to come. And shoes--too many too count!!!!!!!!!

Well, the school bell is ringing. I don't want to be late. :D

Monday, November 8, 2010

Eat and learn

Today's lessons went over pretty well. She didn't want to do her lowercase letter workbook where she traced j's and f's because she said she already knew how to write them. What she didn't realize was that she was also learning to read words by doing the assignment. I only had to threaten to put her into a real 5 day preschool once to get her to stop complaining. Hopefully, I won't do that many more times. I don't like to do it, but sometimes words come out before we really think about them, don't they? I do usually try to stick to whatever I say even if the consequence might be a little more harsh than necessary. I truly believe it is important that kids believe you mean what you say or else they won't respect much you say at all. She loved the Blues Clues workbook, as usual. I think she just really likes the little decoder things that let you know if you got it right, but whatever works for her works for me. She wrote the answers (numbers) correctly without any help or direction from me. I guess it was a good thing they didn't ask for a 7 or 4 because when I did, she tried and thought she could write them (Yay for her believing in herself!), but could not. It is neat to see where she is at and what she knows and still has to learn. She also breezed through a few mazes in her big maze book.

For breakfast, Summer made muffins. She has made them several times this past week and it seems they are breakfast of choice for her at this time. She likes the wild berry flavor. She hasn't eaten turkey and cheese in a while. I think it is funny how we all (at least me and her) go through cycles of what we eat for certain meals and then just stop eating them pretty much altogether. She and I both love to eat regular foods for breakfast - chili, noodles, grilled cheese sandwiches. Her favorite food right now is probably steak and potatoes. She also likes pasta of any sort, but I think her favorite sauce right now is alfredo. Her restaurants of choice are probably Longhorn then Olive Garden. She's definitely got some spoiled taste buds.

Well, she is aching to get to the mall so off we go.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Home school

This morning Summer did her schoolwork without a fuss. She did some scissor sheets and painted by numbers. Yesterday, on the other hand, was not pretty. I'm not sure if I waited too late in the day to start the lesson I planned, but it is possible her brain was too tired at that point (around lunch time). She practiced the lowercase letter "e" for the second time and for some reason she had it stuck in her head that she "can't" do it. Despite me reassuring her that she could if she tried, she protested and refused to follow my directions or the direction of the arrows on the paper. I hope F is a better letter for us. So far, she hasn't put up any resistance to writing A, B, C, D, 1 & 2. With 3 there was a little self-doubt too, but we overcame it without a standoff. I sent her to take a nap yesterday when she refused to try. After about 10 or 15 minutes of laying in bed, she decided she would try, but not wholeheartedly. I'm going to have my hands full if she continues with the self-doubt, or unwillingness to try things she doesn't want or think she can do. Maybe I will be able to maintain the patience necessary to teach her successfully. Lord willing anyway. We have over 10 preschool books to work through together so that she will be prepared for school next year. Usually she loves doing them and I hope that continues in the months ahead. I think the key may be in timing and making sure she is not too tired when we work through them. Despite the frustration that can accompany teaching a young one new things, I am very happy to be the one doing it. I love to see her learning and growing. I love having her with me everyday. And, she loves it too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last day of preschool

Our household could not be more happy about this day. No more notes, no more books, no more teacher's dirty looks. LOL Well, the note part is correct. Last night when we went to bed, Summer was already saying that there was something wrong with her and if it wasn't better, she shouldn't go to school. She also mentioned the fact that she doesn't learn anything again which I'm certain is not completely true. But, she does do more hands on things at home when we are having "fun." I know life can't always be fun. But, if I can make it fun, I'm going to. Anyway, she did not invent any illnesses this morning. She did say she needed a nap on the way to school. I seriously doubt she will still be wanting to nap when I pick her up from school though. We'll definitely be finding something fun to do if she has anything to say about it. It would be nice to spend the evening at home though since the rest of our week is booked solid.

Yesterday, we went to a Halloween party put on the by Candelighters. Summer decided we should be fairies. Lucky for her, I had the costume. She did donate one of her tiaras which I wasn't entirely excited about, but I was a good sport and even wore the floppy wings. Summer herself was Tinkerbelle and sported her tiara with pride and only slightly above her eyes. And, of course, we had some pretty shoes to top off our outfits. Summer decorated two pumpkins with stick on faces - a cat and a vampire. She also decorated a bag that she later trick-or-treated with. When I asked her what she drew, she said it was "abstract." I love this girl! After we ate pizza, cupcakes and cookies, it was time for the kids to get a present to take to their mother. That was sweet and we scored a Christmas blanket. It is already on the couch. Summer actually used it last night while watching the Bernstein Bears and eating her bedtime snack - turkey.

At the party, the kids got to trick-or-treat in one of the church hallways. Boy did she score big! There were only like 6 doorways in the hall that the kids trick-or-treated at, but her bag weighed about 5 pounds when she finished. Before bed, she had to go through all her candy and pick out her favorites. They were Tootsie Rolls, Laffy Taffy & a banana Tootsie Roll Pop. She didn't pick any chocolate!!! Guess who got all the Twix. :D She gave her dad all the rest of the Tootsie Roll Pops. And, Lexie is getting the Reeses Cups. I'm not sure we will even need to trick-or-treat by the end of the week. We're going to the zoo on Thursday which will probably bring in more candy. I wonder what costumes we will end up wearing. Summer has mentioned Barney, and I think Lexie may be a bumblebee. Tomorrow is Disney on Ice and the girls will be dressing as princesses. I hope I can get them into a different dress than they wore to the Monster Bash, but some minds can't be changed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The sweetest girl

Summer has been asking all week if she was going to get to go to my birthday party. She doesn't understand yet that adults don't always have actual birthday parties filled with fun activities. So, of course, I could not disappoint her by not having one and inviting her. When I told her to get dressed yesterday morning, she ran to find the perfect outfit for my birthday. I was surprised by her choice, but she, as usual, looked beautiful. When I first bought the dress, she didn't like it. But, I guess with time her taste has changed.

We had some fun jumping in an inflatable. No, 33 is not too old for that!
She wanted to pose on the cow furniture.
The main event was at Las Margaritas. Summer and Lexie ate two things of cheese dip. Summer gave Memaw the thumbs up on getting me a cake. However, instead of eating it, she mixed it and a cupcake up into a colorful, mushy mess.
The card my mom picked out from Summer was so sweet and really meant a lot to me. It made me feel like I am doing a great job parenting her. It could've only been more special if Summer picked it herself, but she can't read yet. She did sign it and drew a few hearts on it. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful daughter who didn't want to miss a bit of my birthday. Today, she wanted to make some muffins and was going to do it by herself since it is my birthday. Looks like I could milk this one for a long time with her.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Go, go, go!

We've definitely got the "go-go" around here. It seems our days are all filled with fun activities of some sort. We've definitely gotten good use of our aquarium membership over the past few years. I think this is the first time Summer has actually pet a sting ray though.

The butterflies are always one exhibit Summer doesn't want to miss. She tries and tries to catch a butterfly. Lucky for her, one day there was a man assisting people in holding a butterfly. He let Lexie and Summer both have a turn. They loved it.

Of course, my noodle would've loved to hold it all day!

On Sunday after church, we went to the Autumn Festival at the Nature Center. There were lots of games for the kids to play, each one with candy for prizes. After they played them all, we went on a nice hay ride through Reflection Riding. It was beautiful. The girls were most excited about the horse rides though. Lexie kept asking for them the entire ride. So, after our ride, we made our way to the horses. Then it was time for inflatables and then a Fun House (which was a little spooky for kids). There was a marshmallow roast and we all tried some smores. They were very messy and sticky, and I think everyone would've just preferred plain roasted marshmallows. Next was story time at the big tree house that was decorated with huge spiders. The girls both got bunnies at the face painting station. Lexie got hers on her belly though since she was shirtless due to a water spill. Summer picked out a wolf design for our pumpkin. My mom and I carved it while the girls watched the magic show. It was a pretty awesome festival and not too crowded which made it even more enjoyable.

On Saturday, we went to the playground down by the river boat. That always lots of fun for them.
Yesterday, we went to the Discovery Museum with our best buddies. Summer stopped at the face painting place, as usual, and painted herself a cat face, as usual. She did not want to play in the water part one bit and would not join her friends while they did. She did however play in the playground type area above it. I, for once, did not have to climb up and join her. Not that it isn't fun, but it wasn't really made for adult sized people. The slide is not too small for me though. When we went a few weeks ago, I got to go down it with Lexie and Summer. One of her other favorite parts of the museum right now is the outdoor discovery area they have. On our way out, we grabbed a few books. She was really excited about "Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday." One of her favorite books that we have at home is "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." I don't think she enjoyed the new one as much when we read it last night. Recently, she has gotten into a new bedtime book routine. She will pick a set of books that came together, and we read one book each night. Right now we are on the Angels on Assignment series. Before that, we read a Disney Princess series. We were missing the Sleeping Beauty book though and Summer, of course, noticed that. She's so perceptive and still amazes me every day with some of her insights.
On Saturday, Summer, Lexie and I attended the Monster Bash at the Discovery Museum.
We were all dressed as royalty.They loved the sour apples that we got while waiting to go in.They made glow in the dark painting. Summer stuck to using the brush, but Lexie used her fingers too.
Yesterday afternoon, we headed to my Grandad's farm. When we got there, the first thing she wanted to do was to see the puppies. She picked several of them up and posed for the camera.
Then we made our way down to where I can remember playing in the woods with my sister and cousins. I built a fort and she swept or "broomed" all the leaves out of it. She told me she was having a great time which made it even more of a satisfying experience.

She could not wait to get in the barns to climb on the hay. The first barn we got to where I used to play as a child (then it was the 2nd barn, now it is the 1st), the hayloft was completely full so we couldn't go in it. But, she still explored all the parts of the barn that were not full of hay. There was one donkey (or mule?) in it and we pet it for a minute or so. In the next barn, the hay loft had a little room to play/climb in. She went all the way to the top!On the way back to the house to quench our thirst, we came across this horse.And, also this donkey (mule?). We pet them and she commented that she thought they liked it because they probably don't get pet much. As we walked up to the house, she told me that my grandad had the best farm. She said she wished we had a farm at our house in Soddy. LOL I've always wanted to live on my grandad's farm, but I'm sure it will never become a reality. I married a city boy.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Pirates at the beach

Last week we went Tybee Island with our best buddies and best babysitters. It was so much fun. Summer actually loved the ocean for the first time. It probably helped that Willow was running right up to the incoming waves. The waves were pretty huge though so the girls did not really go out in the ocean. One day, we did get Summer to go out and jump the waves before they crashed. She had a great time out there with her Memaw and Nanny. I was so proud of her which really isn't uncommon anyway. The girls played in the sand. Summer built a mound and stuck some sticks and feathers in it. We also made a little sand castle with the our beach toy supplies. The water in the pool was pretty cool, but the kids had fun in it. There were little squabbles over floats which Summer tried to mediate. It was neat to see her trying to accomodate everyone and keep the peace. In the mornings, she and I walked on the beach to collect shells and watch the sunrise. She wanted to find big shells which didn't happen until the last morning. We did find lots of sand dollars and other beautiful shells. She wasn't too big on picking up the normal looking shells that were "everywhere." Instead, she prefered the multicolored pieces of shells. She kept talking about the art she was going to make with them. She plans on keeping some for our family and selling some. I wonder if she really may be a great artist one day.

The girls dressed up as pirates for the pirate festival. Summer's costume was completly adorable. I don't think she could've looked more precious. Summer spotted a booth selling rings at the festival and wanted one. I couldn't say no. She picked one that is similar to my wedding ring which made me glad I decided to let her have one. I guess she wants to be like me. I wonder how long that will last.
The island has an awesome playground and one morning we took all 5 kids. The girls really loved the seesaw. I even took a turn on it and enjoyed it too. I guess I'll never grow up, at least as long as I have kids to keep me young.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A recap of the past week in pictures

This is a cat (which she decided looks more like a dog) that she made out of her Memaw's old business cards. The silver heart on a ring is the collar.
Summer is watching The Lion King in her footed pajamas. She looks so adorable in them. They are from last year, so I'm surprised they still fit her. I had to leave the room because I was repeating every word and I'm sure that could be annoying even to a 4 year old. Yesterday, this is the shirt she wanted to wear (almost verbatim): It is pink with bumpy short sleeves with a white kitty cat. Pink collar with a heart that's red. Pink in ears and white around them. For the life of me, I can't remember, or find, the shirt she is talking about. I figure she has outgrown it and it is in a "too little" box. Speaking of the Lion King, she was going to put on a play with her dolls that she won from a prize drawing from last year's Autumn Children's Festival. It finally happened last night. It took her one whole day to set up the audience. Well, not the whole day, but my living room looked like a stuffed animal bin threw up all over it for two days. This morning we packed them all up, except for the Lion King animals, and sent them back to her room. There are still blankets galore everywhere, but I can deal with those as long as she is playing with them. I still think she thinks that this is a scary movie. We went to see Alpha and Omega yesterday. I had originally planned to take her to see Legends of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole, but when I mentioned it she said that her cousin Jonathan told her that people got killed in it so she did not want to see it. Well, I'm not sure that is true, but I don't particularly like to watch people die either (even though most of it is not real in the first place). So, I found another movie that I thought she would enjoy. It was cute. There were a few violent parts when the wolf packs almost fight that she thought were a little scary. But, overall we laughed and left with smiles on our faces, howling as we walked through the theater. It was kind of cool because we were the only people in the movie so we could howl throughout if we wanted. Not that I did (or didn't).
After the movie, we picked up Lexie. We all wanted sushi for dinner and Summer insisted we eat there. She took Unice her unicorn pillow pet in her baby stroller. Lexie strolled with Lolli. The girls both loved the soup and salad and chicken teriyaki. There were no leftovers.
Gymnastics is one of the highlights of Summer's weeks. She is never too sick to go and always has fun.

The girls got their nails painted at the salon. They enjoyed picking their own colors. Summer waited patiently for her nails to be done, but Lexie was ready right away. The problem was she wanted to do it herself. But, once she figured out that wasn't going to happen she gave up and crawled in and out of my lap while I was getting a pedicure. They were both happy with the finished product and posed over and over for the camera.

I love this Halloween outfit and Summer does too. She has worn it several times in the past few weeks.
Summer and Lexie both wanted to wear princess high heels to church.
Summer was a big help with the bake sale goodies.

The art/craft activities were a favorite at the festival this weekend.
The enjoyed petting the animals too and did not even put up a fuss about using Germ-X.
She tried and tried to catch the chickens.
Lexie and Summer went down headfirst.
Is she thinking, what happened to my nap? Or, just focusing on holding on?
Summer enjoyed the ride too.
Having fun even in line!
She's ready for music class. I love the boots she picked to wear too!

Lexie picked out her own clothes too.
Discovery Museum was a hit.
You have to pet the hissing cockroaches unless your name is Lexie.