Wednesday, December 14, 2011

11 Days and counting

Gumdrop has been here a week and likes to hide in silly places while we are sleeping. Summer is always anxious to find out where he is when she wakes up. This morning he was hanging upside down on the fridge door with a new mission tucked in his shirt. He has also been on the staircase, a light fixture, a present, and in the tree. Summer thinks it's funny that he messed up the ornaments even though I think only one or two were messed up. She seems to enjoy the missions he brings and did a really good job helping shop for our angel tree child. Of course, she did want to go to Build-a-Bear and get the little girl a bear. While we were at it, she might as get one too. That was her plan anyway. And, it worked for her. She ended up with a fluffy white sheep named Lamby. I do not regret the decision to buy it so far because it is actually causing her to play with all of her other Build-a-Bear creations more frequently. However, at the time I was really feeling suckered after spending $90 before leaving the store. Two stuffed animals with outfits and shoes. Summer also had to get reindeer headband for hers which she later decided does not look as good as just the plain lamb head. Luckily, the delight on her face offset some of the guilt. I'm sure the little girl will be happy too. Her bear got Twinkle Toes to match the ones she is getting.

We've had one other shopping mission which I'm happy to report did not end up with Summer getting anything. She's been very helpful with the deliveries, carrying as many bags as she can. Today her mission is to take some puzzles, instruments, puppets and barnyard animals to a local children's shelter. She was delighted when she saw the elf had left a big box with all of the items in it right outside our garage. She helped me lift the big box into the car and hopped happily into her car seat. She has also been through her toys and got rid of two boxes of stuff. Yay! I hope these missions will help her to see ways she can help others and want to give back to her community.

She has a really fun cookie decorating mission this weekend with her friend Willow. I think Santa just might be there too. I'm lucky she doesn't ask too many questions about there being so many different Santa's. She has seen three already this month and all of course were different people. I guess him having a lot of helpers isn't such a far fetched idea in her mind. Oh, to be a kid again....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gumdrop Arrived!

The elf has returned much to Summer's delight. She started asking last week when he was coming. I was scrambling to communicate with Santa about her upcoming missions, but we finally got them all worked out. She was very excited to discover her elf this morning sitting in one of the cubbies by the fireplace. He had a scroll for her which had a letter from Santa on it. He was sure to mention the naughty and nice lists. It seems she is currently going back and forth a lot, but he is sure she will be at the top of the nice list by Christmas if she can get into the true Christmas spirit of giving to others. We will see. I have my doubts at times. But, if Santa is able to pull off the remote control angel, anything is possible! I hope she will enjoy her missions to come. The first one is tomorrow. We'll see what she thinks about it.

Tonight we are supposed to go to Rock City, but the weather is causing some concerns. Hopefully, all the precipitation is over and we will not freeze to death should we decide to venture out to meet up with our group. Tonight Lana's Love is taking us along with other local pediatric cancer patients for the yearly outing there. It is always fun to see those we have met along our journey and to also enjoy the Christmas lights. It's been two years since Summer had her last treatment. She had her last scheduled CT last week which turned out great for her. NED!!! Now she will be monitored by chest x-rays and ultrasounds which they also did last week to get a baseline for the future. She has an MRI coming up after Christmas along with an ECHO/EKG. I am hoping she will again have great results and that her heart will show no signs of damage from the chemotherapy. I'm so thankful for my healthy girl. She is truly my miracle!

Monday, December 5, 2011

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I last posted. The holidays are upon us and it is a mad rush from one place to another. We did manage to spend a whole day at home over the weekend though which was nice. Summer played outside in the trees and bamboo. She rode her bicycle, swung on her rope swing and had some one on one time with her Daddy. We were supposed to have a family game day, but the only games we played were on the Wii. Clint also played me one game of backgammon, doubled me, and won. Oh well....next time.

This morning I stayed in Summer's class and made snowman ornaments with the kids. It was lots of fun and very messy with all the sticker paper, but worth the time it took to clean it up. They all seemed to enjoy making their own version of the snowman. A few of them thought he should have legs, but I assured him that he just slid around on the snow. Haven't they seen Frosty the Snowman? Maybe not, but a few of them did sneak on some legs made out of scarves. Summer, being the craft girl she is, was in heaven which is always a nice way to start the week. Over the weekend we made some garland which we will send to someone special through the mail. Her attention span was not so long on that craft, but she did start a pattern that I tried to follow. It was quite a task for a five year old to do on her own so I wasn't surprised when she gave up. :)

She is anxiously awaiting the return of her elf which means I need to go ahead and write Santa and tell him what kind of elf we would like this year. I'll be asking for one that spreads Christmas cheer to others and will help us learn that it is better to give than receive. Of course, she will be receiving too on the big day because you should reap what you sow, right? I'm going to try to not go crazy this year and so far I think I'm doing pretty good. One or two more things should tide her over. The hard part is deciding what they should be. Really the only thing she has asked for that she desperately wants is a remote control angel which she asked Santa for. Let's hope he pulls through on this one! Basically, she says it is an angel flies so it shouldn't be that hard, right? Too bad she didn't ask for a helicopter because they are everywhere right now. I've also thought about a plasma car, but not too sure it would get used. Plus, I'd need to get two so her and Lexie don't have to fight over it should it be a big hit with them. She did enjoy riding it around the store the other day, but probably only got on it because I asked her to. So????

School has been going good for her. The book fair started last Friday. Summer and Lexie were excited to go by and pick out a few books before heading to their classrooms. Summer gobbled up sausage balls and grapefruit juice while Lexie munched on a mini blueberry muffin, a doughnut hole and some OJ. After school on Friday, Summer told me she had a wish list in her book bag. It turned out to be two wish lists. Her books of choice are: Bieber Fever, Leo the snow leopard, Willow Smith, and ???? I can't remember the last one. Oh well, it was pretty good to get all those considering I don't have the lists with me. The girls both love their nightly stories and love picking out the books for me to read. Sometimes we read their library books which they get every week. Other times they pick from our bookshelves. Summer also reads the books she gets from her teacher a few times a week. I can't wait until she can actually read on her own, but I know I will miss the time we spend reading together when she out grows it. Let's hope we have got a few years at least before that happens.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Teddy got new shorts!

It's been a long time coming, but Teddy's original shorts have officially been retired. They were pinned to him some time during Summer's chemotherapy treatments I think. Summer was the first to wear the pink and white striped shorts, size 24 months. They were put on Teddy sometime after Summer turned 2, but I haven't been able to pinpoint when by looking through old pics yet. I do know that she has been carrying the bear around since she was 1 year old. Anyways, the shorts are now shreds and don't resemble shorts in the least. They were replaced with a 3T size pair that both Summer and Lexie have worn. The transition was surprisingly easy. I found some shorts that had what I thought would be a cool and soft material like the other pair was because that is what Summer loved so much about them. They didn't get hot when she snuggled Teddy. Summer never complained and easily got over the loss of Teddy's original shorts while on a sleepover at Memaw's house last weekend. I had already pinned the new pair onto Teddy so when the old pair fell off Memaw put them in Summer's over night bag and that was the end of them. They are now being stored in our oak cabinet which also sports items related to our wedding and various trips to the beach. I also still have some of my original dolphin collection from high school. Some have already been passed along to Amanda and now Summer who inherited her big sister's old room. Cool thing is, they both like dolphins like me.

Summer seems to be testing me lately. Either that or she has just gotten more hyper / silly over the past few weeks. Her noise level is often irritating, and I am working on accepting it as part of who she is right now. The amount of energy a 5 year old has at times is quite amazing. Jumping up and down at the end of the day! I mean, seriously, where does it come from? She's over the nap stage so it's not an after nap second wind. She is a bundle of energy for sure and keeps me on my toes.

One annoying habit that she has right now is to tease me about how she and her dad are Alabama fans. She told me this morning after a walk with her dad that he switched teams and doesn't like Tennessee anymore. She boos me when I root for Tennessee, but I refuse to stoop to her level of poor sportsmanship. I am trying to figure out how to curb it without actually forbidding her to do it. I have tried to gently sway her to be nice and let me cheer for who I want to, but she is not going for it. Today on the way home she kept repeating and motioning "Alabama (thumbs up), Tennessee (thumbs down), Georgia University (thumbs toward each other)." She tried to get me to join her, but every time she said it, my thumbs went down first and up second. She tried and tried to get me to do it her way. But, I refuse to convert give Alabama a thumbs up. I guess you just had to grow up where I did to understand why, although my brother is an Alabama fan too. Let's just say he is a little more redneck than me. No offense Brad. :) Summer is a hardcore Alabama fan even though she never even really watches the games. She knows their color is crimson. She "roll tides" with the rest of them. She taunts me to no end. And although she looks really cute with her two new pairs of earrings and hair bow her daddy got her while we were in Tuscaloosa last weekend, I really wish that she would stop. It is not nice. She even got me to sing Rocky Top today just so she could boo me while I did it. Oh my! What is a mom to do? How do you instill a sense of respect for others in kids these days?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Who is Summer? A cat, a cheerleader or a witch?

Today was an unusually early morning for us. The girls both came into my room at 6:00 a.m. Lexie to snuggle and Summer to wake everyone up. So, Summer was redirected to the living room where she entertained herself for a few minutes by making something out of construction paper, tape, crayons and fuzzy sticks. Since they were up so early, they got to watch Barbie Rapunzel before school at Lexie's request. It is Summer's favorite Barbie movie too right now. We rarely ever cut the TV on in the morning because it considerably slows down the eating process so this was a treat. Summer had a frozen PB&J sandwich for breakfast and then decided that my potato soup looked yummy and dug into that too. She is such a non-breakfast food eater. The past few days it has been nachos with meat, beans, cheese and sour cream for breakfast. Unlike Lexie, she has to be forced to eat cereal.

The week started off great with Halloween parties at school. Summer wore an Alabama cheerleader uniform to school and saved her witch costume for Halloween night. We trick or treated on Carter Road and then went to a trunk or treat at Stuart Heights Baptist Church. They both were awesome. Clint was the only one not dressed up. Summer and I were witches and Trixie was a bat. We met up with some friends at the trunk or treat and the girls enjoyed playing games for candy. The inflatables were also a big hit and brought lots of smiles to the kids faces. Trixie was a little nervous although I carried her in a front carrier as we walked around. Of course everyone wanted to pet her. However, I advised against it seeing as how she sometimes gets snappy when she feels threatened. Kids are not always the gentlest dog handlers and she knows that. Summer is getting better though, and she loves being Trixie's mommy. She is thinking Santa might bring her a cat for Christmas this year, but I told her I didn't think so. She got one two years ago and it ended up getting killed. Evidently she thinks she needs another one, but I'm pretty sure Santa is going to say no to this idea.

Last week, we attended Disney on Ice for the 3rd year in a row. A lot of our friends came too, and we had twenty seats filled with friends when the show began. Summer dressed up as Tinkerbell and Lexie wore a fairy princess dress. It was a great time for the kids and adults. Time for mommies and daddies to catch up and little children to dream of magical characters. Summer left with a beautiful horse that she just would not let me walk away from. I tried to bet the guy selling it to me $16 that she would never play with it again. He didn't take me up on it, but I think I won that bet. Maybe she will surprise me though.

Summer's good friend Willow had a costume party for her birthday over the weekend. Summer wore a cat costume. Again, she did not want to wear the witch costume which she had chosen for Halloween. Luckily, it, along with the others, came out of our stash so we didn't have to buy any costumes this year. She enjoyed celebrating with her friends and is looking forward to the next birthday party which is at an indoor mini-golf place. Looks like along with school comes a slew of new party invitations!

She is really growing up so fast and learning so much in school. Her first report card was all plus signs. The teacher said only good things about her which of course made me super proud. She does need to work on some of her lowercase letters and numbers. Sometimes she gets them inverted. She also likes to start writing her letters at the wrong place and does not like to conform to correct penmanship as it is generally taught. I'm hoping she will get over her stubbornness and conform. There are times when conforming to other's ideas is good although I do understand that is not always the case. I am really impressed with things she is learning though and absolutely love both of her teachers. She is enjoying school too, but is looking forward to the next half day. She really wishes school weren't so long. Yesterday, she had a major meltdown when she left with her daddy so he could take her and Lexie to school instead of me. It was only the 2nd time he has done it so maybe she just wanted her routine drop-off with mommy snuggles and rock-a-bye baby in the hallway. But, she was not a happy camper when she left the house or when she was dropped off. I called her daddy to check on how it went and he said she whined all morning. Her teacher emailed me around ten to let me know she had been kind of weepy all morning, but that she was okay. I hated to hear it, but I am glad the teacher took the time to let me know how she was doing. I love, love, love this school!

I am a little concerned about Summer's health now. Scans are approaching and she has some urination issues which have me worried. She is urinating more frequently than normal (sometimes 3 times in thirty minutes) so I took her to get checked out. Her pediatrician says to just drink more water and cranberry juice and keep an eye on it. I hope this is all it will take, but I've got a weird feeling so I've got a call into her oncologist. I pray it will be nothing, and they will find nothing wrong with her. That way we can continue to live at peace and not in fear. Lord knows I love that little girl more than anything in the world and I don't know what I'd do if something else happened to her. With that said, I'm going to try to focus on happier things.

This weekend has a lot of fun in store for my little girl as she goes to a sleepover at her Memaw and Nanny's. I think it may even turn out to be a grandbaby sleepover which is great because she absolutely loves to spend time with her cousins too. I'll get a little down time, but it won't be as relaxing as I'd like. I'd say its a win-win though!! Bring on the good times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Early to bed, early to rise

The girls have adjusted nicely to their bedtime routine. Most nights they are sound asleep by eight o'clock. Tonight, they were both tucked in by 7:30. The first few weeks of school, they were up before the alarm clock went off except for one or two times. I did have to wake them both up this morning despite their on-time bed time, but for the most part they get up on their own and are well rested. As long as they don't get up before 6:30, I am happy. But, they have beat that once or twice. The getting ready routine seems to be working good too, and we have not yet been late for school. I hope I didn't just jinx myself. :)

Summer had another run in with the sick bug last week. She didn't have much of an appetite, complained of a headache, ran a fever and threw up twice (once at school and once in the elevator). On our visit to the doctor last week, I learned that her previous strep test had been negative. The one they did on this 2nd visit to her new pediatrician office was positive. She has been on antibiotics for a week now and has almost finished them up. She missed a day and a half of school due this illness. That makes 2 1/2 days of school missed so far this year due to sickness. Oh well, perfect attendance is overrated. After her first dose of antibiotic, she woke up the next morning feeling good but still was not allowed to return to school. Instead she sang some song with the Wii Sing It game. She also made some craft projects which she does on a daily basis it seems. The girl is so creative and crafty!! She was good to go back to school the next day and seems to be back to full health at this point. Of course now that she is in school, she is exposed to lots of germs so I'm not holding my breath that she will not be sick again soon.

The week ended early with a half day on Thursday. Then fall break was upon us. Friday morning we cleaned out pumpkins and worked on carving them. Summer was not a fan of the ooey gooey pumpkin guts, and Lexie wasn't either. Summer picked out a cat pattern for me to put on one of the pumpkins. It was pretty difficult so any help from the girls was out of the question. They did enjoy putting silly faces on some of the smaller pumpkins we got at festivals the previous weekend.

Summer got to spend two nights with her Memaw, the 2nd one being a grand baby sleepover. She told my mom that she wished they could have a grand baby sleepover every fall break. She really does love spending time with her cousins and Memaw. PawPaw too for that matter. I am glad they all bring happiness and joy to her life.

Sunday night after Summer got home from her Memaw's house, she spent some time with her PawPaw before returning home to help me decorate the other pumpkin with light bright type pegs. Again, she picked a cat pattern, but this one was much easier. To her dismay, we were out of 9 volt batteries so she did not get to see it lit up until the next day. When she did get to see them all lit up, she lit up too with excitement. Oh the good times that come with each season and holiday!

Her fall break was finished up with a quick tennis lesson and a trip to the Pumpkin Patch, a playground on Signal Mountain. She and Lexie both loved it, and I was very happy that Clint decided to join us on this adventure. The kids each needed their own adult to play with them since they are at different levels as to what they can do on the playground. Summer thoroughly enjoyed playing with her daddy, and Lexie had a blast too. After almost two hours of playing and a picnic, we headed back down the mountain. The girls played outside for a long while that evening, riding bikes, playing with horse shoes and coloring with chalk. Summer climbed the crepe myrtle tree in the front yard several times. It seems she is really into tree climbing right now. She wanted to do it again today, but I think the rain stopped her. I'm sure she'll be back up it later this week. Unfortunately, this is probably not just a passing phase. I just hope she's careful. I would hate to have a little girl with a broken bone, but kids need to be kids, right?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First field trips and fall fun

Summer got to ride a bus to her first kindergarten field trip. The first graders also went to the Apple Valley Orchard, same one we went to last year with Summer's preschool. Her daddy and I followed the bus up there. Well, we might have led the way. :) The first part of our tour was the hayride which was fun for all. Then we watched apples being sorted and boxed. The kids got a glimpse of the inside of the cooler, if they could see through me and the other parent who were allowed to take a quick picture of the inside. It was really odd, but maybe they had opened the door too many times that day to give the kids a look at the inside. When we got to the cider making room, the kids and adults were all lined up and placed about the room by the "Nazi" tour guide. I'm not sure the kids realized it as much as the adults, but there was definitely some whispering going on between the parents about her lining up skills. Clint even had to leave the room it got too structured for him to bear. LOL We left as we had come, through the gift shop and headed to hear the story of Johnny Appleseed. After quite a long tale, the kids were told about the different kinds of apples and how they are pollinated, among other interesting tidbits of information. We finished the trip up with a picnic lunch and fresh apple cider. Then the kids loaded back onto the bus and it was a done deal.

Lexie visited Fire Station #7 with other PK3 & PK4 students on her first field trip. Unlike Summer, she did not get to ride a bus. Several parents helped chauffeur the kids over to check out the newest fire station in Chattanooga. It just so happened that there was not one, but rather two, fire stations at Enterprise South which is where we were told to go. We found that out the hard way when we came across the TDOT station, which at first we thought was the fire station. We quickly realized our mistake, but stopped any way to ask for directions. We were asked which fire station we were going to. I didn't know, and I was the lead car. Neither did the teacher that rode with me. No one behind me had a clue either which one we were going to. I finally reasoned that it would be a public fire station, rather than a private one. So, we headed to the white building we could see sticking up in the horizon that the nice lady at TDOT pointed us towards. Thankfully, it turned out to be the right one. It seems no one really knew exactly where we were going, but we did all end up in the right place. The kids got to tour the station and see where the firemen cook, eat, sleep, shower and relax. They really seemed to enjoy checking out the big trucks. Their faces lit up with delight when they were inside the trucks. Lexie was no different. She wore the hat and sticker they gave her with pride. Although it was a little windy and cool, the field trip was fun for all and hopefully they will all remember to stop, drop and roll if their clothes should ever catch on fire.

This weekend has brought lots of fall fun. It seems like we always have lots to do in the fall. We ended the school week with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. The girls played and cashed in their tickets for candy, a ruler, and a purple fish (not live of course). Before bedtime, we enjoyed a nice, warm bonfire complete with marshmallows to roast. Lexie is not a fan of them, but Summer and I love some nicely toasted marshmallows!

Yesterday morning we got up and went out to eat breakfast for a change. Then we headed to the Punkin Festival in Soddy where the girls mostly played on the playground. They also enjoyed a ring toss game where we won a green finger, plastic frog, and a bracelet. Summer tried to get me to buy her a necklace with interchangeable bottle cap pendants. We also saw them at the Hamilton County Fair last weekend. But, I did not cave and buy them. We did buy 3 pumpkins for the girls to paint with Paw-Paw (which they did last night). The girls loved the inflatable slide which was free, always a bonus! The cotton candy was not a huge hit, but it, too, was free. Summer exited the slide before Lexie and colored a picture of a pumpkin. She even got an extra one to take home and color. We checked out some old cars which Summer said were too "bumpy" before we left.

Our afternoon was filled with more inflatable fun at Brody's birthday party. Pump It Up was the perfect place to celebrate with him. Several of Summer's classmates were there, so she had plenty of kids to play with. Her good friend Giada was there, and they had fun sliding and jumping together. Giada's mom and I talked and have tentatively set up a play date for sometime during their fall break. Summer is very excited about that! She ended up hurting her foot after a bad jump and has been limping on it ever since. I examined it pretty well and think she will be okay. She does not seem to be in any major pain and can move it in all directions without complaining. She is not sure that she should go to school with it hurting, but I assured her she will be fine. I may end up writing a note for PE, but only if she complains again in the morning. The day ended with another bonfire for the girls and even more marshmallows for Summer. She declared that PawPaw cooks them perfectly which will put a smile on his face should he ever read this or even better should she tell him herself.

After church today, we ate lunch and headed to the Children's Autumn Festival put on by the Ronald McDonald House. We bought a lot of tickets and did all the activities we wanted before we ran out. We even had enough tickets left to snag a few craft kits to take home for us to do later. After getting our value pack of tickets, we enjoyed free Mayfield's ice cream sandwiches. Summer wanted to head to the craft area first. The kids made sand art and decorated pumpkins with markers and stickers. They made ghost suckers, sticker art, and iced and decorated chocolate chip cookies after getting their Ronald McDonald tattoos. They went down the inflatable slide a few times and even rode a horse after patiently (well mostly) waiting in line for a good while. Summer wanted to decorate a tiara on the way out, but they ran out just before we got to the table. It was no big deal though, and we happily headed to the car. Summer was a big help, helping me carry her pumpkin and the craft kits to the car. Oh the joy it brought us both!

The weekend was busy, to say the least. But, we had fun and made some good memories during it all. I know the rest of the fall will probably be like this. Go, go go! But, I don't think I'd have it any other way. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rock-a-Bye Baby

It continues! She still wants me to rock and sing to her everyday when I drop her off at school! I think it may be taking a toll on my back as it seems to start hurting at some point every day for the past few weeks . It seems like I will be walking her to her classroom indefinitely. The drop off line just isn't for us right now. Most days we drop off Lexie at her classroom first, but some days Summer goes to her class first. Yesterday, was one of those days because I had to take Lexie to the doctor for a check-up due to her frequent accidents at school. It seems she's just full of poop, thankfully.

Summer went to the doctor two days last week, missing one day of school due to strep throat. She ran a fever above 102 twice and complained of her limbs, shoulders, and belly hurting. She said, "It hurts when I swallow my spit." She played normally throughout it except for when her fever spiked the 2nd time which was after I picked her up from school on Monday. She sat patiently as I dropped my car off at the dealership, and we waited for our loaner car. I don't think she would've been as patient if she felt good. We left there and headed to a drug store for a thermometer and some ibuprofen. She was redfaced at 102.3, but she still insisted on going to celebrate Nanny's birthday at Ichiban. For some reason, Summer got to pick the restaurant. I guess she's good at that though. She loves to decide whether or not we will eat at our favorite sushi restaurant or Longhorn or ........

The next day I took her to her new pediatrician, and the verdict was strep. So, she stayed home that day and went in late the following day after her appointment with the surgeon who took her port out. There was a stitch that did not dissolve that was sticking out of the scar and did not seem to be going away. It seemed to be tender to her and she would not let me near it so I made an appointment to have it looked at. Dr. Smith said that she would just leave it alone and wash it with soap and water. She also said we could rub a washrag over it gently which Summer did herself. I was a little disappointed it was still in when we left the doctor's office, but it did come out earlier this week and the scar looks to be healing nicely now.

I asked Summer yesterday if she likes school better than she thought she would and she said she did. I am soooooo happy with this school. Summer has gotten almost all yellow smiley faces on her chart this month. As a reward, she picked a Show and Tell sticker from her options. The other sticker choices Summer can remember are: Bring your stuffed animal to school, Teacher's Desk (do your work at the teacher's desk), and Teacher's Pen (get to use one of the teacher's pens). On Monday, Summer will get to take something special to school with her to show her classmates. I wonder what it will be. Teddy already goes in her bookbag everyday so she can have him at rest time so I doubt it will be her. I'm so excited for her 1st show and tell. :)

She will go on her first field trip next week. The kindergarten and first grade are going to an apple orchard. The kids are riding the bus and the parents will be following in cars. Of course, Summer has already asked me to go with them. This will actually be her 2nd trip to an apple orchard. She went with her preschool last year before she dropped out. She is excited to have apple cider and eat an apple.

Her midterm progress report brought a big smile to my face when I saw it. She is doing exemplory in her social growth and behavior with peers. She enthusiatically participates in the class. She got all good remarks in her work habits and her teacher says, "Summer is doing so well! She works hard and always helps others." I guess this school thing is okay after all. She is thriving and making me proud to be her Mom!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why does school have to last so long?

Summer really wishes school days were shorter and fewer in number, but she seems to like it nonetheless. When I drop her off to school, I still walk her and Lexie to their classes. The past two days, she has had me do Rock-a-Bye Baby in the hallway after we hung up her book bag. Yes, she allows me to pick her up and rock her like a little baby in front of her peers. Oh, if only this could last!! I think I actually told her today that I hope she never outgrows it. I think she may in size before she is actually over it, but maybe not. Despite her weighing 43 pounds and standing 42 3/4 inches tall, I still manage to carry her around on occasion. And, she loves it! She's definitely my baby and always will be more than likely. Lexie pretends to be a baby at times and will put one of Summer's old pacifiers in her mouth and let me coo at her while I cuddle her in my arms. So sweet! I really hit the jackpot with these two being a part of my life.

Yesterday, Summer asked me if there was chapel and I told her no that it was today. She was disappointed stating that she liked it. So, today I attended with her and Lexie to see what it was all about. When they saw me, they ran over to sit with me. Summer's friend Brody, who just so happens to be a boy, sat down right beside her. Apparently, he follows her around most days, but I'm going to try not to read too much into it. The word boyfriend is not even going to be in our vocabulary for quite some time!!!! His mom was there too and told me she had heard a lot about Summer and had even come to eat lunch with them one day. Uh-oh! A little girl named Alex tried to wave her over to sit by her, but Summer was not leaving me. She sat quietly in front of me while Lexie climbed all over me proclaiming her love for me during the chapel service. It was quite precious, but I hope next time she will sit and listen. We sang a few songs and the rector went over a Bible lesson which was on the fruits of the Spirit. At the end, Summer got long faced and tried to fight back tears when she knew it was time to say goodbye. It was at that point that she asked me why school had to last so long. It was a sad moment, but her teacher told me she would get her busy when she got back to the room. I hugged and kissed her many times and then she was off with her class. I'm sure she was fine in no time, but goodbyes between her and me are usually not the easiest thing unless she is going with her Memaw or cousins. Then I'm chopped liver.

Instead of crying over homework this week, Summer decided she would do the whole week in one night and get it over with. She wrote B's, b's, C's, c's, D's and d's. She drew a green apple because that is the kind she likes. She counted 13 pennies and then tried to write "I counted 13 pennies" but could not get the 3 correct so we stopped at that point in the phrase. I don't think she was really trying, but I didn't push too hard and just let her move on since writing wasn't even part of the assignment anyway. Then we did a graph on the number of girls/women and boys/men in our house. She was done in no time and even wrote the letters 6 times each instead of 5 so she could get a little extra practice. So, today when she got home, she was free to do whatever she wanted which just so happened to be watching Barney goes to School and eating kettle corn. The movie was so entertaining that she and Lexie watched it twice before I got dinner ready. They were contemplating a 3rd viewing, but instead we played Carnival Games on the Wii.

Last night we had a family game / movie night. The girls had an early shower so Summer could spend as much time as possible with her dad after he got home and before bedtime. After they were all clean and dressed in their pj's, Summer won a game of Candyland while we waited on her Dad to get home for dinner. After we ate, she, Lexie and her dad headed to her room to play. I later walked in on them jumping off their beds, Summer holding an umbrella as she did. Thankfully, I only had to witness it happen once before Summer decided instead to show me and her dad a disappearing act. Lexie got a turn too, and it was funny how Summer had us close our eyes so they could sneak in and out of the room and thus disappear from under the umbrella. They both loved it and were all smiles at their trick. After they were all played out, Summer snuggled up with her dad on the couch to watch Ernest goes to Jail for the 3rd time. She has seen it several times at her cousins and always tells me how funny it is when I pick her up. So, when I saw it was going to be on TV last night, I made sure the channel was set so we could watch it with her. During the movie, Lexie and I worked a few puzzles and tried to play Chute and Ladders, but she's not quite at that level yet. When the movie was over, it was bedtime. Instead of books, we did songs because it was a little later than normal. Lexie wanted me to sing Go to Sleepy Little Baby to her. I sang that song and You Are My Sunshine to Summer. Tonight, after story time, Lexie requested Lullaby and Goodnight. I also sang You Are So Beautiful to Me to her. After one verse of I Love You, Summer, Summer wanted me to sing You Are So Pootyful to Me to her. I obliged her silly request, and she went to bed smiling. On my way out the door, she let one rip. How did she do it? I'm not even going to ask. I just love days like these. What would I do without my sweet little girl?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2nd week and we're surviving

Summer had her first chapel day today. She was less than excited when she had to put on the special chapel outfit this morning. She was especially appalled by the tie, but she was dressed to code when she left the house and looked absolutely adorable if I say so myself. The uniform thing is working pretty good. She still wishes she didn't have to wear them; she also wishes school was only two days a week. Hopefully, she realizes those wishes are not going to come true. Apparently, Lexie pulled up her shirt today during chapel and her aunt Summer laughed at her, at least according to Summer's afternoon report of her day. I tried to discourage them both from repeating either of those behaviors again.

Summer had P.E. again today which is her least favorite class. The first day she had it, she came home and told me she did not like it. I haven't broken the news to her daddy yet, but maybe, just maybe, she'll change her mind about it. The first day she told me she got to sit out because her stomach was hurting. I think she said they were running. She said they did the same thing today, but I believe she was well enough to participate this time. LOL It is so funny how sudden ailments pop up out of nowhere these days - walking down the hall to class, riding in the car, going to bed. But, a few kind or silly words seems to cure them quickly.

She loves school overall. I am still walking her in every day, but tomorrow I may try to just drop them off. We'll see. She did follow her teacher up the stair to her classroom this morning while I dropped Lexie off at her class. I almost left without checking on her, but I decided it wouldn't hurt to walk by her class. She saw me and came and gave me a big hug or two before I said goodbye, took a few more pictures and left. I've gotten pictures of her everyday so far. Crazy, I know, but she's my baby. She has brought home several new creations a day - stencil art, pop-up book, cards, Christmas ornament. She definitely is getting to do things she likes at school. I need to start taking pictures of those things too because my folder will be filling up in no time at this rate!

Homework is not her favorite part of school, but she has a little every day this week. Today, we went ahead and did tomorrow's homework too so we will be done for the week. No homework tomorrow!!! :D The first day she had to write her name 3 times and count to 20. Day 2 she had to draw a picture of her teachers and count the steps in her house. Today's homework was to draw 3 things they use at school and write the words. She went ahead and wrote 5 "A"s and "a"s and sang the alphabet song to finish up all of her assignments for the week. They turn them all in on Fridays.

Today was her first time to check out a book from the library at school. She told me she was a little nervous to do it because she had never done it there before. I didn't understand why since we checked out books at the local library all summer, but I guess new things are a little intimidating at first. They told her about a late fee if the books are returned late which may be one of the reasons she was a little uncomfortable doing it. She picked out a book that was "true" she told me. It was a book about cheetahs and we read the first chapter before bedtime. She seemed to really enjoy it even though it was more informative rather than story like. Yesterday, she brought home a book with no words which was titled "The first day of kindergarten." She told Lexie and myself a story using her own words that she came up with by looking at the pictures. It was really neat to see the way she interpreted the pages and what words she used to describe them. Lexie has brought home a book the past two days that she said she got at the store. I assume she meant the library. Today, her book was about pet parakeets and yesterday's was an alphabet book with odd animals in it. Seems the library is stocked with plenty of educational books, but I guess that is what school is all about.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

P.S.

I failed to mention the puzzle that Summer made me on the first day of school. She told me about it on the way home from school. When we got home, she gave it to me. My dad was there too and was excited to see just what she had made for me. The envelope had a little message taped on it which I read out loud. A little over half way through it, I broke down crying. My voice cracked. I looked at Summer, and her face looked as if she might cry too. It was such a sweet moment. I went over and gave her a hug and thanked her. It took me a minute to regain my composure, but when I did, I finished reading it. Then we put the puzzle together as a team. She had traced her hand on a blank puzzle and colored it purple surrounded by a pink and orange border. It was pretty neat and will hopefully be framed one day. Summer doesn't agree with that though because then we won't be able to put it together anymore. We'll see who wins this battle. :)


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

School starts

And, we're off to our first day of school........


Peace signs by order of Princess Summer

Headed into the school on her first day of Kindergarten


She's leading the way to her classroom.

The dreaded day (the first day of school) has come and gone. It went better than expected and with far less tears than expected. I guess that is a good thing, but for some reason I feel like the tears are just building up inside and will eventually be released. Probably next week when she and Lexie go all day . This week is just half days for Summer, and Lexie only went one day. So, I haven't fully experienced a full day of school with no kids yet. I must admit that I am not looking forward to it. I am happy that she likes it though. I haven't heard any complaints from her. That makes it a little easier on me.


On her first day, she gave me sad faces when I left. She asked how long it was going to be and seemed disappointed when I told her 3 hours. But, there was no arm clings or tears like I had anticipated. She did not by any means give me any sort of smile or act like she wanted to do any of the activities that were available. There was a baby doll area, a dress up station and a table full of legos and little boys. One little girl was playing with playdough. Summer chose the table with the markers and paper. When I left the room, she was just looking at the paper. After I left, she drew a pretty flower in a flower pot which she brought home in her Littlest Pet Shop backpack. I don't think it hit me hard when I left the room because I still had Lexie to entertain for the next 30 minutes. We headed out to her playground where she swang and explored the equipment. It is a great playground and has everything a kid could need or want in a playground, even a seesaw which is not common anymore. And, it's all just her size! As we waited for the teacher, I talked to another parent who I met years ago when I took Summer to Playgym. She has a Pre-K3 and K student. Crazy what a small world it is! Unlike me, she was jumping for joy -literally!! - when she dropped her kids off. Lexie said goodbye to me with a smile on her face. She was ready for school!



When I picked up Lexie, she was on the playground again playing on the slide in the castle. Her teacher said only good things about her, and I was happy when she informed me that she had not peed in her panties. She's not perfectly potty trained yet, but she does pretty good most of the time. We had time to waste before Summer got out for the day so Lexie had some strawberries and juice while we sat on a bench in the shade. When it was finally time to join the carpool line, Lexie was really wondering why were weren't getting Summer. I will be happy when they are on the same schedule that way the carpool line will just be me, and I can jam out on my Ipod. It could turn the worst part of the day into something I could possibly look forward to. I just hope I don't get too carried away and end up with all the parents around me staring at me like I'm crazy. LOL When Summer got into the car, she was happy and said only good things about school. She wanted to go to Ichiban for lunch, but I wasn't hungry so I told her we'd go the next day. She was a little disappointed, but agreed that a happy meal would be a good choice. We were deeply saddened to see that they were out of Smurfs. What a tragedy!!!


The rest of the day was spent watching cartoons and playing games. I couldn't talk her into a swim although the slip and slide did slightly tempt her, but we ended up not doing that either. She asked if she could do a chore and get some money. She told me she wanted to vacuum the bugs out of the loft we use as a library. I told her I'd give her a dollar if she did that and took the Netflix movies to the mailbox. She replied that she only wanted to do the vacuuming so I said no deal - all or nothing. She decided to do it, and I fetched the hose for her. She did not want me to start any vacuuming without her and kept repeating herself when she heard me plug the vacuum in (it's a central vac). It made me happy to see her want to do it all by herself. Of course, I ended up helping because there were more bugs than she could manage to get up (we don't go up there a lot and it is a bug magnet!!). After we finished that chore, we moved some children's books from there to the other loft where the playroom is. I recently got my childhood bookcase and was so happy to get to fill it with Summer's books and some of my old books too. I'll cherish it forever or as long as it lasts! Around 7:30, Summer picked a few books from its shelves and brought them to her bed for me to read. The perfect ending to her first day of school.

Day 2 of Kindergarten

This morning Summer wanted me to walk her in. I agreed to but told her I can't keep doing it all the time. Hopefully, she will be able to get herself and Lexie to their classrooms next week by herself or with the help of a teacher. I'm not really looking forward to that either. I love all the time I can get with her! When we got to her classroom, she hung up her book bag under her cubbie and sat down at a table with paper, markers and stencils. No frowns or sudden illnesses occurred unlike last year when she went to preschool for a few months. So, I kissed her on the cheek and reminded her of our lunch date and left. No tears yet again. I'm amazed at her and myself. I knew she would love it though once she started. When I picked her up today, her teacher walked her to the car and she was all smiles. She scolded Trixie for barking at her teacher and we were off to lunch with Lexie. She made another friend today which puts her up to 2 so far. She's going to totally rock at school. She moved up a color today which means she did better than yesterday. She was explaining to me that there are two bad colors: purple="Teacher's choice" (note, email or phone call to parents - this is the worst) and blue="think about it" (aka time out). There are three good colors: green ="ready to learn," yellow="good day" and orange-"great day." Yesterday, she was green which is where they start at, and today she was yellow. She was happy to inform me of her increase in status. Looks like the year is off to a good start. My little girl is growing up!!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

5 more days of freedom

I am feeling as if I'm on a deadline with school starting in only 5 days. What all can we fit into those five days? I asked Summer what she wanted to do before school started and she said go to Lake Winnie and Chuck E. Cheese. We are going to try to take care of one of those tonight. Lexie is also excited to possibly go to Chuck E. Cheese after gymnastics this afternoon. Both girls are starting back this fall and will be moving up to a new class level. Summer is very excited to go back which makes me happy since you want them to enjoy the activities they are involved in.

Summer also has aspirations to get on the slip and slide later tonight, but we will just have to see if we can fit that in before bedtime rolls around. She couldn't fall asleep for a nap today although she laid in bed for a good 45 minutes or so. That being said, she may be a little tired this evening when we get home from all of our running around. Lexie, on the other hand, was ready for a nap and didn't take too long to drift off.

The weekend brought Summer lots of time with her cousins. She got to stay with them while her daddy and I went on a little anniversary trip. The first time I called to check on her, I could hardly keep her attention. So, I made sure to call her when her cousins were at school so she wouldn't completely blow me off. They are tough competition for her attention. I am glad she loves them so much though. Before Summer and I left their house when I went to pick her up, Leah was already trying to get the next sleepover planned. They must have enjoyed each other's company over the three nights she spent with them. Though the date did not get nailed down, the plans are in the works.

My noodle was happy to see me when we got back and said she missed me, Trixie and her daddy. We let her choose our dinner location, and she chose TGI Fridays. That and Sekesui are her favorite downtown restaurants. After dinner we strolled through The Passage down to the riverfront. Summer chose to walk up the steep steps rather than along the riverfront so that we could get more exercise. It's so funny how conscious she is about exercising. On our way to the playground, we saw a boat and Summer commented she would like to go on it. It just so happened that it was a floating condo model that a company is building and selling units to (a pretty interesting concept). So we all ventured down to the boat and checked it out. Summer's interest was short because the playground was calling her name. When we got there, she ran around and did all the stuff she wanted to do. Then I played with her some before letting her lead us back towards home. She wanted us to walk under the wooden train track area they have just below the aquarium, so we did. Of course, she found her way into more water on the way home. Her daddy even joined her. Besides a slight meltdown over Teddy at dinner, which I don't have time to go into right now, it was a great way to reconnect as a family after our trip. Being a mom is such a blessing, and I'm so glad I have been blessed with such an awesome little girl.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

12 days until school starts

Summer asked how many days were left until school starts today. Sadly, I told her 12. I said it's like the 12 days of Christmas except instead of getting presents each day, we lose one of our last days of freedom to do whatever we please, whenever we please together. I told her I knew she was going to learn a lot though, but deep down we are both not happy about having to cut the cord which has regrown since her bout with cancer. Neither one of us still has any excitement for school starting. I guess we will just have to get over it. I am excited about volunteering at the school so there's something good. She is excited about starting gymnastics again too so we both have something we are looking forward to.

This week we have been making the most of our days although we did have a few days where we just stayed home and enjoyed the company of each other. The Wii has brought us some fun. Summer especially likes Wii Fit and plays a variety of games on it. We've watched cartoons together and several movies including Alice in Wonderland (the cartoon version), The Polar Express (much to Summer's delight), Barbie Rapunzel (her favorites movie) and All Dogs Go to Heaven. We played in the backyard on the slip-n-slide and in the pool. We've been to two playgrounds - Soddy Daisy and St. Elmo. Story time at the library was a hit with both girls again, especially the silly mask craft they did at the end.

Yesterday, Summer went to the Creative Discovery Museum with Willow and they had a great time spending two hours going from exhibit to exhibit. I thought Summer was almost not going to go since I wasn't going. During our lunch at Mellow Mushroom, she whispered in my ear and asked me if she would have to take a nap if she went home with me and Lexie. I told her yes, so she decided she would just go with her friend. Sometimes it just takes a nudge......

On Sunday we took the boat out with some friends. Summer was disappointed that she could not get into the water due to her surgery last week, but she did not put up a big fuss about it because she did not want to risk it getting infected. I sooooo hope she continues to want to follow rules as she grows up. She does love swimming in the lake now and even claims she is not afraid of snakes anymore. It seems she is not afraid of much anymore. It's so crazy how grown up she is. This morning after I brushed her hair, I told her to go look in the mirror and see how pretty she was. She came back and said that she looked really grown up. She did, especially with the dolphin earrings she was wearing that she spotted as we were going through one of my jewelry boxes. I better be careful because I don't want her to grow up to fast. I'd much rather her look younger than older. But, of course, who doesn't want to look younger? Oh yeah, teenagers.....glad we've got a while before those years hit!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Another week is gone, and so is her port!

Last week ended with a 3 night sleepover with our best friends. Willow and Summer played great together, as did Lexie and Harper. The older girls did a few craft projects and the younger ones enjoyed painting and coloring. We had lots of water balloon fun. It's too bad you can buy those things pre-filled!! The driveway was covered in yellow and red balloons before the weekend was over. The girls played with chalk and rode bicycles and scooters. The big girls swung on the tree swing and the younger ones swung on the swing down by the lake (under direct adult supervision of course!). They all loved playing in the basement where Summer says she is queen. I was caught off guard when she informed her daddy and I of that fact on Monday. But, hey, I'm queen upstairs, I guess she can be downstairs. LOL They all loved the nightly bedtime stories which did not do a good job of calming them into a sleepy state the first night. They giggled and talked and who knows what all for an hour or so after we laid them down. It was funny to hear some of the stuff they were saying over the monitor. I know Summer said she was vinegar. Willow said she was a cucumber. It sounded like Summer wanted her to be a bell pepper though so she asked her if she even liked cucumbers. Willow replied that she liked the color of cucumbers. LOL Then Willow asked who liked the color of salt. It was some very randomness, but harmless sleepover girl talk so we let them have at it.

On Saturday Memaw, Nanny and Summer's cousins came up for some family fun. They swam in the lake and went on a boat ride. We cooked hamburgers and hot dogs while the kids destroyed the upstairs playroom and bedroom . This led to their lunch being delayed while they picked up the toys that covered the floors, but hey, how else are they gonna learn not to leave their mess for someone else to clean up? I guess that is just normal for kids to get into everything they possibly can and spread it everywhere. It seems I am always picking up toys that I know I did not play with, but that comes with being a mom (which I wouldn't trade for anything in the world). Summer is not too messy, but Lexie is definitely more of a destroyer. Lucky for me, I've got Summer to help me keep an eye on the messes she makes. I guess maybe it is the aunt in her that causes her to tell Lexie to pick up her toys when she sees she has moved onto something new??? I do love having little helpers, and they both help me when I ask them. Let's hope it stays that way in the years ahead.

On Monday, we had a fun day on the boat with Summer's older sister Amanda, Josh and several of their friends. Summer was excited to go to a rope swing. Even though it was a lot higher than the first one she went off, she was ready to get off the boat and into the water as soon as we got to where it was. She and I were the first to swim to the shore. After climbing up the rocks and dirt path, we looked out over about a 10 foot cliff. We decided to go exploring down another path which led to a rope swing. It was pretty high and intimidating so we headed back to the first jump off point we had found. I went first and she followed me in a minute or so later. I was surprised she wanted to jump from that high, but it wasn't any higher than the high dive I grew up with at my grandad's house so I didn't stop her. After everyone had their fill of jumping, we headed north. We stopped at a diving board which was coming off of a rock on someone's property and everyone jumped. Well, almost everyone. Summer did. Lexie almost did. Amanda surprised us all by chickening out yet again. I guess being the bigger sister doesn't mean you're always braver. Summer did not ask to jump off the bridge when we got to it which didn't really surprise me because it is at least 20 feet high. She and Lexie were ready to head home on our way to the bridge, but they managed to enjoy the rest of the ride snuggled up next to me. They both had enjoyed swimming in the lake and were not out of place despite being on a boat full of adults. It was good, clean family fun!

Bright and early yesterday morning, Summer and I headed to the hospital to have her port removed. After almost 2.5 years of pokes and needles into her upper left chest, she was ready to be be rid of it and so was I. We signed in at 6:27 a.m and only sat for a second before being whisked to registration and then room 7 in the back where we would be prepped for surgery. That was the speediest part of our visit which was too bad because all the fun toys were in the waiting room. My lap was quickly taken by my sweet, snugly, thumb sucking baby and her teddy. We waited just a second before being greeted by one of our favorite nurses from the hospital floor the year Summer had all of her treatments. Renee took great care of us and Summer was promised a treat when she got out of surgery. She did not forget about it either! :)

After we were all checked in and prepped, we had to wait on the surgeon who was running a little late. Summer started getting hungry as we waited and waited watching cartoons in our room. Finally, the nurse came back with a sedative for Summer and a man came and got us and wheeled us off towards surgery. Summer was such a champ and did not fuss or cry the whole time, of course Teddy was by her side comforting as needed. They gave her extra meds so she would wake up happy which was a nice change from the MRI wake-ups after anesthesia. After she woke up and had a few sips of water, they unhooked all of her monitors. We didn't stay in recovery long before we were delivered back to our room. When we were getting her dressed, she asked about her treat. She chose a grape Popsicle and savored every last bite of it.

She was too unsteady to walk, so I carried all 43 pounds of her back to the car in the parking garage. When we got home, she was still not able to hold her legs steady enough to walk, but that did not stop her from trying. That ended in a little head first tumble, but luckily it did not hurt her. When we walked in the condo, she pretty much dove for Trixie and tumbled one more time before being sent to the couch for her own safety. That didn't last too long.

To celebrate her new freedom from monthly port pokes, we all went out for lunch at one of her favorite restaurants - TGI Fridays. Summer seemed steady enough to walk herself, so she did. She and I ordered our usual 3 course meal: spinach florentine flatbread, bruschetta chicken pasta and Oreo madness. Clint had his favorite chicken dish too. After our bellies were full, we headed back to the condo. This time Summer wanted me to carry her. What a work out!!! I would do anything for my baby though so no complaints here.

Summer stayed up and played while I napped. About half way through the nap, she started playing with her box of instruments which I could hear seeing that our rooms are side by side. So her after nap music show was not exactly new for me like she thought it was. We watched a few episodes of Brain Surge together and played a game. Then we went through her jewelry boxes and she picked out some to give to the chemo patient and her brother that we angel. We even picked a special necklace to give Lexie and sat it to the side. A few minutes later Summer busted Trixie chewing the clasp into a non-workable state. We were very bummed, and Summer shut Trixie out of the room for her bad behavior.

After dinner Summer joined me on a volunteering excursion. While I addressed and stuffed envelopes and she colored a Littlest Pet Shop poster, she learned that it was national ice cream sandwich day. She helped lick the envelopes when I was finished getting them ready. Of course, when we were done helping out, she wanted to stop by the ice cream shop. She ended up choosing Ben and Jerry's over Cold Stone and I must say my taste buds were a little disappointed. Her ice cream of choice was Triple Caramel Chunk in a peanut and chocolate dipped waffle cone. Despite starting with surgery, overall it was a good day which ended with a snugly tucking in and lots of kisses. I will never grow tired of those!

Today we were joined again by Lexie as we headed to story time at the library. They both played on the computer a little before it started. Summer found and picked out 4 Dr. Seuss books all by herself. The kids enjoyed story time although Lexie was confused as to why they were having so many videos and not reading books like they usually do. The girls made alligator visors for their craft, and we headed home. We had some surprise guests show up to swim with us this afternoon which was nice. Summer was not supposed to go under all the way though since she has a big incision just below her collar bone. So being the rule follower she is, she was not having too much fun in the pool and decided she would rather play in the basement. Since no one else was done swimming, she got Trixie to be her loyal subject. After pool time, the kids played the Wii for a few minutes before our guests left. We ended the day watching Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue together on the couch which Summer and Lexie loved. The only bad part of the day was when we had to take the Tegaderm off. It was not a piece of cake and was very much like torturing my little girl which is never fun. I'm so thankful to be done with all of the cancer business. One more set of scans in November, and I think we are free birds. At least I hope that is His plan.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Memory Lane

I love replaying the days with Summer in my head as I type these posts. But, I remember far too little. She's getting so big and I can't really believe she will be off to kindergarten in a few weeks. It doesn't seem real that she is that old already, but she is. I'm still not too enthused about school starting back, and it seems I'm not alone from talking to some of my friends. I know Summer is not too excited. But, her other friends are super excited to go. Even Lexie is excited to go to school. I guess I can blame this on cancer, but it doesn't really matter why we are not looking forward to being apart as much as school requires. We are not. We'll adjust quickly though. I'm sure. Right?????

Monday started off with Summer choosing to do some workbooks. She finished up another one and there are several more that she is close to finishing. I hope we will get them done before school starts, but we may not. She sure has enjoyed doing them although sometimes a page or two is enough for her. She was really wanting to do the maze workbook, but it was not with us. Her favorite workbooks of all were the ones with little decoder so you can check your answers. I think they were Dora and Blues Clues themed. She finished them first, of course.

A little later on Monday we met up with Clint and Lexie at the playground in North Chattanooga. Trixie came along for some exercises and fresh air too. The kids played until they were red faced, and we cooled off with some refreshing beverages. Summer ended up dumping some of her water bottle on her head. Then she went and filled the bottle up in the sink so she could cool off a little more. She was pretty wet when we left. But, she was happy and cool and so all was good.

Before we headed home, we went to eat. She wanted steak as usual. It has to be her absolute favorite thing to eat. Tacos (she had 4 for dinner tonight) and lasagna are neck and neck for second and third. She also loves fresh fruits and veggies. Tomatoes, cucumbers, or green peppers with vinegar satisfies her palate at times. Fruit-wise, she prefers strawberries, peaches, cherries or grapefruit. She also likes limes, blackberries and cantaloupe. Her cheese of choice has moved from colby jack to pepper jack. Lexie is also a big fan of the pepper jack. I'm still on the string cheese myself. But, this isn't really about me now is it? Ice cream of any sort is Summer's treat of choice, followed closely by fresh baked cookies. Her favorite Little Debbie is still Nutty Bars, but she rarely gets those.

After naps and dinner, the girls and I headed down to play in the water by the aquarium. It felt nice as we walked down the steps to the pool at the bottom. Summer made a few friends right away. She played with them until they had to leave. We left shortly after that and headed to Summer's other favorite water area in front of the aquarium. She thought she might find some money there, but she did not. They played and splashed until it looked like it was going to storm. Then we headed to Rita's for some Italian ice and custard. Summer always has to have the custard. She chose vanilla in a cone with hot fudge on top. Next time I think a cup would be better for the hot fudge because it sure was drippy which also means messy. I'm not particularly a fan of messy. LOL I'm glad Lexie is happy with the regular Italian ice because I've got 51 more free coupons to use in the next year that we got at the grand opening a month or two ago. We better get a move on it if we plan on using them all! She had the birthday cake flavor and ate almost all of it. Hopefully they weren't too spoiled as we headed home, but you only live once, right?

Tuesday we got up and headed to the zoo before it got too hot outside. They were both super excited to go and see if the animals were all awake. Somehow we managed to get through without going to the dinosaur exhibit again. I know Summer wanted to go again, but we never really saw the building where it was located so we missed it. We heard some goats making a bunch of noise and took a detour from our intended route and headed towards them. They were behind a wooden fence so we couldn't see them, but it sounded like something was really going on in there. Summer commented that the Serval, who was pacing around her cage, was her favorite animal there, but it was also the first one we saw. Next was the coyotes which she took a picture of. She led the way through the zoo like a pro. On the way, some campers stopped us and asked the girls if they wanted to pet Peanut Butter the barn dog which they were taking for a walk. Surprisingly, neither girl jumped at the chance. We headed past the snow leopards, one of Summer's other favorites, to the petting zoo. The girls and I got to brush the goats which was a first for us. Summer had fun checking out the deer and prairie dogs. She counted the turtles in the water by the bridge, but could only find five when I found six. We made our way through the rest of the zoo to the butterfly garden. She was disappointed as we strolled through the plants and flowers that have grown since the spring because we did not see even one single butterfly. I don't think she's ever seen one there, but maybe we are just not there at the right time. I think she's lost all hope now though. Talking to the parrots afterward helped distract her a little. :) Our last stop at the zoo was the chimpanzee exhibit. They always love to get in the boat and get their picture taken there. Somehow Summer convinced me into getting in there with them for a group pic...she's pretty persuasive sometimes. I know I'll be glad when I have the picture to look back on though!

Later that day we watched The Lion King. I was surprised Summer sat and watched it since she usually does not want to watch any Disney movie other than Mickey Mouse Villains. But, I did not really ask, I just put it in and she watched it. I think it might have helped that we got out all of the Lion King stuffed animals she won in a raffle a few years ago. Now, if only I can get her to do that with the princess movies....I guess it's no big deal though. They are not really educational per say and actually probably instill hopes and dreams that will never be met in reality. I'm sure I over think the whole TV thing at times when it come to her, but I really would like to preserve her innocence as much as I can. We had to take a break to go to dinner with some friends, but after we got home we finished it and then headed to bed.

That brings us to today. This morning we watched a little of Lady and the Tramp before we headed to story time at the library. We have not been in quite a long time, and Summer was excited to go back. She asked if she was going to get to do a craft at the end and an affirmative answer was all it took to get her on board. I really wish we would've gone more this summer, but we did not. So much to do....so little time to do it all! Saturday is the big party for the summer reading program at the library. Summer read (well, I read to her) 47 books since we signed up last month. That was just short of our goal of 50, but I'm sure we will read many more as the days pass. She got to pick out a few new books on the way out of the library today, two of which she enjoyed before bedtime tonight. I should probably tuck myself in right now too, but there's not much time to write when they are awake. I know they will be up bright and early in the morning. I tried to get them down at the time they will hopefully be going to bed when school starts. My goal is to start the bedtime process at 7:00 and have them dreaming sweet dreams by 8:00. I'm sure it won't happen exactly like that, but it's never too early to start the new routine with hopes for the best. School will be here before we know it!!!!

The girls were very excited to go for an afternoon swim after nap time. Summer surprised me yet again by wanting to go swimming in the lake. Our slue is definitely not my favorite place to swim, so I was not as excited as she was. Lexie did not want to get in the lake at first, but when she saw Summer and I get in, she was game. Summer wanted me to swim to the dock with her, but I just couldn't bring myself to get all the way into the murky water. Luckily, PawPaw saved the day and came out at just the right time to swim with her. Lexie and I headed to the pool which was much more appealing than the brown water at the lake. Summer joined us after swimming to the dock. They played with the water hose in the pool which needed water anyway. Summer really enjoyed putting her finger into the hose and making the water spray in all different sorts of ways.

I wish I could say the day was all smiles and giggles, but there was some whining and unkind behavior involved which resulted in a few time outs. Mostly, it was fun for us all though. I've learned to expect little tiffs which seem to always arise when there are two or more kids around. I still do not enjoy them, but hopefully they will lessen as the time outs keep getting handed out. One thing is for sure, the corners of the house have never been this well used!!! It's hard to stick to doling out the punishment at times, especially when it seems like they've been in the corner a lot. But, I know it will be worth it in the end so I always follow through. Kids need boundaries and if parents don't set them, then they will never be learned. I just wish it was easier, but nothing in life worth much is easy I guess. While I try not to set my expectations too high, I know if I don't set any at all they will be little terrors. I can't handle that! Summer and Lexie are learning to use their manners when they want something rather than demanding or whining to get it. Hopefully, they will be all pleases and thank yous and yes ma'ams and no ma'ams before too long. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Adventure on the lake

The weekend brought more adventure around here. Summer decided that venturing onto the boat was not such a bad idea and could actually be fun for her. On one trip tojlet the adults jump off a bridge, she decided that she wanted to do it too. The bridge was 20 or so feet high so I decided against that for her, but she did not seem too upset not to get to do it. I was kind of happy to see her willing to do something so daring, but I know she is not big enough for that bridge yet!

The next day we went on a search for some cliffs to jump from. It had been years since I jumped off of from there, but I recognized them right away when we finally got to where they were. Summer surprised me and got in the water right away to swim and watch Mike and I jump. After I jumped from a thirty to forty foot cliff, Summer decided she wanted to jump too. I was hesitant, but decided to let her try to jump from a short distance. We swam up to one of the ropes you can use to help you climb out of the water. She pulled herself up to a small rock ledge while I gave her a boost from below. She steadied herself and jumped from probably about three feet above the water. The sad thing is, the people on the boat were distracted by some nonsense that supposedly involved a snake so they didn't see her.

After that we headed back home, but stopped when we saw some kids jumping off of a rope swing. Summer was game again and jumped and jumped and jumped. When I told her she could go two more times, she countered and asked for four. I think she might have went three more before we headed back to the boat. It was great to see her having so much fun and the other kids were nice to let her into their rotation on the swing. Clint and I went a few times too, but it was more of a kid-size swing.

The adventure should have been over at that point. But, as we headed home, the question of whether or not we had enough gas to make it arose. Everyone was trying to talk above Summer's head, but I'm not sure they pulled it off. She did not freak out or start worrying though so they didn't do too bad at keeping it low key. To be on the safe side, we headed towards a marina which ended up being closed. Clint decided to be a hero and went on a quest on land for more gas. He saved the day after hitchhiking back to the house so he could bring us more gas. Summer and I ended up driving the truck back instead of taking the boat because she was hungry. We headed back to the house throw some pizzas in the oven for everyone and on the way, she told me that everyone was saying she wouldn't get back on the boat again. But, she said they were wrong, she would. That made me happy and proud. She does that a lot though. By the time we got home, it was 10:00 p.m. and the early bedtime I had dreamed of earlier that day was a complete wash. But, it was a fun and exciting time so it was not a big deal. Sometimes its worth staying up late, but soon we will have to get into an early bedtime routine so she will be ready for when school starts. Until then, let the adventures continue.....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Where has the summer gone?

I can't believe it's already the middle of July and there is only a little more than a month before Summer starts kindergarten. The fourth of July was spent with friends in the pool, hot tub, and on the slip-n-slide. Summer got to spend time with her friends Cameron, Ty and Katie. She also spent some time with her cousins at a much treasured sleepover. The older boys shot off the fireworks and the kids enjoyed sparklers. We borrowed a boat which of course came with a scandal and a little bit of fun. Summer, however, is not a fan of boats. She says they do not go fast enough for her and there is nothing to do on them so she doesn't care to ride them. I hope she will lose this attitude with time, but that is really up to her, not me. Her daddy and I had some fun times back in the day when we had our big yellow boat. Maybe if we still had that one, she would change her tune because it would go plenty fast! At one point on one of our excursions, I asked how much gas we had. That set off an alarm inside Summer's head and she was ready to go back home. She never wavered from her cautious feeling about running out of gas, but she did not freak out. She just kept telling me she was ready to go home. I am hoping this means she will not be a huge daredevil, although I do hope she will be a little of a risk taker.


Summer and I went to Lake Winnie a few weeks ago, and she was super excited to ride the rides. There were some rides she was not tall enough for and that bummed her a little, but she had fun on the ones she could ride. She barely met the 42" minimum for some of the rides, coming in at 42.5" herself. She needs to grow 5.5 inches before next summer to be tall enough to ride the bigger rides. I'm not going to hold my breathe on that one. There is one ride that goes up in the air higher than anything else in the park and then free falls. She rode it twice and I must admit I was a little scared to ride it the 2nd time, but I did. Her favorite ride was the water slide which we rode 6 times in a row. She really wanted to go on the cannonball roller coaster, but her legs are just not long enough. On a few of the rides (Tilt-a-whirl and scrambler) it was all I could do not to throw up. I'm pretty bummed about this because she is only five and we have years of riding rides ahead of us. Oh well, at least I know now to take something just in case. We both had a blast together there anyways. She would not ride the carousel though. I guess maybe she is just not interested in such a slow ride it when there are other rides around. However, if we went to Coolidge Park, I know she would want to ride it.

We went on a family adventure to Wilderness at the Smokies last week. The water slides were fun for us all, but Clint got dizzy when he went down backwards on one of the slides. I really think we are going to have to start taking Dramamine before we go on these types of excursions. One of the water slides was too big for her to ride, but she kept asking again and again to ride it. There were 6 or so other slides she could go down so it was not like she was really missing out too much. Thank goodness she grew an inch in the past few months. It seems like 42" is a common height requirement for rides. She loved the wave pools too and would ride the waves into the bank of the pool. The lazy river was also a hit and we went around and around on it. The resort had a pottery painting place which we visited twice in our three days there. She picked an angel to paint the first time we went. The second time we just painted a few ornaments and knickknacks. She was in heaven being the craft lover she is. She wakes up most days asking to do crafts so this was just icing on the cake for this trip. When we left the resort, we headed to a rafting excursion. She was not too excited about it and sat in the front of the raft sucking on her ring pop the whole time. She did not get out and swim when the rest of us did, but that was okay. The water felt awesome and she missed out, but that was her choice. She crashed on the way home, but woke before we made it back. Of course at that point, the "how much longer" began. :) It was only about another hour before we made it back and headed to our favorite sushi place. We were all in heaven then.

We are loving the summer and not looking forward to its end and the beginning of kindergarten. I am not ready to be away from my baby that much, but it's almost time. I hope the rest of the summer drags by or at least brings us many more fun times together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rainy day catch up

Summer camp has come and gone. She made oodles of projects during the week. After the art show on Friday, we filled up a bag with all of her creations. She had a good time, but has not decided yet that she wants to go to another camp. I think we may go to Lake Winnie this week. Summer and I have been talking about a trip with just us two so we can ride all the rides together. I love this idea!!! A trip to the Discovery Museum and zoo would be fun too, as would a trip to play in the water around the aquarium. We'll have to see what we can fit in before the weekend gets here.

Yesterday, we returned her first set of library books for this summer. We have a goal to read 50 for the book club program they have going on at the library. Our first visit we got 13 books. We just checked out 18 more yesterday, so we are well on our way to achieving our goal. Lexie is lagging a little, but we did check out a few especially for her too. They enjoyed the end of the summer party last year, and I think this year will be even better since they are a year older. I just hope the weather isn't insanely hot. It makes the Popsicles and ice cream melt too fast!!

The first day of kindergarten is getting closer and closer. I must admit, I am NOT looking forward to it. I try to not think about it too much, but our life is about to drastically change. Too bad I don't have it in me to home school her, but what' s that Justin Bieber song again? LOL I guess it is time to let her go and spread her wings and fly. But, I am so NOT ready for it. She's my baby! My thumb sucking, Teddy toting, baby. I know I need to suck it up and get over it, but really the thought of school does make me tear up at times. She's going to love it though and learn so much. I just hope we don't have a repeat of her preschool days, the few she had. Sad drop offs are not my thing and I do not want to experience them again. Good thing Lexie will be going too. I think it will make it easier for Summer.

I'm sure I will quickly adjust to my new found freedom. I just hope I don't become a slave to my house! My dad has been doing a pretty good job of it though, if only I could get him to bring his labor indoors. Just kidding! Well, there is dusting, toilets.... He really is sparkling this place up though. Summer will have a swing down by the lake soon. She tried to help him paint it yesterday, but she could not operate the can. That was okay though because she joined Lexie and myself in the pool. We played with floats and all had a turn riding in the boat float. We swam through each other's legs and made whirlpools and waves. Good memories for sure!

Well, I'm being beckoned to make her hamburger helper for breakfast. We didn't get around to making it yesterday and she remembered I said something about it. The girl does not like normal breakfast foods, but she will occasionally eat cheese eggs. They must be VERY CHEESY though. I think I put 3 slices in 4 eggs for her and Lexie the other day. They ate them all up though. I wish I could remember what she's eaten the past few days, but I am drawing a blank right now. Maybe it'll come back to me while I'm cooking.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Camp

I was really looking forward to Summer going to art camp up until the day rolled around. Then, I was a little nervous, as was she. But, so far, so good. We have not had any major withdrawals on our parts. She left Teddy at home yesterday. I did not take him when I picked her up either and she had to endure lunch without him. Or, is it a her? She did not miss him too much, but she did notice that he was not with me when she came out of the classroom. Today I let her put him in her bag rather than me have to carry it back to the car with me. In return, she promised to leave him in the bag the whole time until I picked her up. (That was a win-win!!)

When we left camp, we took a nice stroll through the art district. She wanted to go to the sculpture garden first, but it was hot and I convinced her to go eat first so we could cool down with some ice cold water. Her favorite! We enjoyed a nice lunch of pasta and salad. No one ate the bread but me. I couldn't resist. Summer did not like the lasagna at Tony's Pasta, but that was okay because that was what I ordered. She had some kind of noodles with marinara sauce. Then we mixed in some Alfredo to make it pink and yummy. She topped it off with a scoop of chocolate ice cream. Then, we were off to see the sculptures. She led her daddy and myself to her favorite spot. She had us look off at the view. Then she led us through the rest of the garden. Her daddy and I hid from her once behind some columns since she was on a mission and leaving us in the dust. When she turned and looked for us, she was surprised not to see us. We quickly exposed ourselves and she smiled. On the way home, she got her daddy to carry her on his shoulders. I was the pack mule for everything else (my purse, Summer's camp bag, the Togo food, Clint's shirt and tea), but what's new? I was made for it!

Yesterday at camp, they made some cups out of clay. She told me she made a smaller one for Lexie and a bigger one for herself. I thought that was sweet. She usually does remember to get something for Lexie when we are at her doctor appointments too. Stickers and suckers are the usual treat and we've had our fair share of stops at the jars that hold them. I am not sure what all else they did at camp, but I think their artwork will be displayed on Friday after camp is over. I can't wait! Today they are working on self-portraits and looking at photographs in the the museum. Summer said she was not excited about that second part, but we will see what she thinks when I pick her up.

Which brings me to more exciting news. Summer is going to get to be in Chattanooga's Health Scope magazine as the model in the picture of the new CT scanner at our children's hospital. We go today after she gets out of camp. I am way more excited than she is. That is mostly due to what she is going to wear, but I hope she will just suck it up and put on the clothes and smile for the camera. We will see. She really does not like the shorts, which are super adorable and got lots of compliments when she wore them to her last MRI. Maybe the skirt she wore to camp today will work, but it is definitely not as cute as the shorts. I am anticipating a possible nap in her future should she give me a hard time and have a breakdown. I've promised her lunch anywhere she wants in return for her cooperation which means no whining or pouting. She also wanted to be able to pick a dessert place. LOL I told her she'd have to be perfect to get that. It could go either way, but I will be surprised if she manages that. In life anything is possible and as Justin Bieber's song goes: Never Say Never!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A fish in the water

Summer is a little fish in the water. She's been in the pool quite a bit since coming home from Florida. Last weekend, and this past weekend, she spent a few days at her Memaw's. We got her a pair of goggles just for her house so that she will have them whenever she is there. She still does not want to go under water without them, but I guess that is because she likes to open her eyes and it hurts without the goggles. We also got into the pool in our yard a few times during the week. Today we went over to my aunt Sandra's and hung out with my dad's family. It was nice and Summer showed off her swimming skills. They were all impressed with her not having to wear floaties or anything this year. I was a proud Momma for sure!!!

She got to spend a night this weekend and last with her cousins. As usual, she had a great time with them. I'm sure they will have a few more sleepovers before the summer is over. Memaw and PawPaw have already hosted one each so now it is my turn I guess. She actually told me today that she was going to need a nap because Faith and Jonathan wouldn't stop talking all night. Then she said when she woke up she and Faith were both sideways and Faith had all the covers. Love these childhood memories she's making!!! True to her word, she fell asleep in my lap during church and had to be woken up after the last song was sung. That was the only nap today so she did not put up a fuss to stay up when I put her to bed tonight around 8:30. After she and Lexie both had their books read to them, they snuggled up in their beds, smiling as I kissed them goodnight. I tell you those are priceless moments. Of course, the nights when I sing to them are even better. They just love to hear me sing to them sometimes. Summer's favorite goes like this:

Go to sleepy, go to sleepy, go to sleepy little baby.
Momma loves you, Momma loves you, Momma loves her pretty baby.
Go to sleep pretty babe, Momma loves you so much.
Go to sleep pretty babe, Momma loves you so much.

Other favorites are "You Are My Sunshine," "You Are So Beautiful," and "I Love You, You Love Me." Good thing they don't mind if they are slightly out of tune!

We also made some memories at the zoo last week. The girls both love to go there and see all the animals. The goats were a little frisky this visit so we will see if they want to go back in and pet them again next time. Summer really wishes they would get some meerkats and I would love to see a zebra there, but I guess we don't have enough pull to get the zoo to get them. LOL The zoo has a dinosaur exhibit right now that Summer thought was pretty cool. For a minute, she thought the dinosaurs were real because they were robotic with moving heads and eyes. Some of their mouths even opened and closed. We were surprised to see that the triceratops did not have any visible teeth with their mouths open wide. Guess it's a good thing they have those horns! She enjoys both Dinosaur Train and Dino Dan cartoons so I'm sure it was cool for her to have a close up look at some dinosaurs on a life size scale. We did not get to reach out and touch them though, but I'm not sure she would've wanted to anyway. The exhibit was refreshingly cool on a hot day, but that did not stop the girls from needing something to cool them down on the way out. Lucky for them, there was ice cream in the gift shop. Summer chose on ice cream sandwich while Lexie chose a banana popsicle. They were all smiles on the way to the car which is always good.

Of course, the week was not all smiles. They both had their share of moments in the corner, but that's just part of them learning boundaries and what is and is not acceptable behavior wise. But, I'm sure this is going to be an exciting summer for us. Summer has decided art camp sounds fun so she is going to one at the Hunter Art Museum next week. She's also decided to take the summer off from gymnastics. Maybe we will start back in the fall after she is adjusted to school. I can't say I'm ready for that. Kindergarten scares the crap out of me!! But, I'm sure we will both be fine.