Saturday, January 29, 2011

Another sleepover

Last night, my mom had a grand baby sleepover at her house. There were 5 kids in attendance - Leah, Jonathan, Summer, Lexie and Austin. Summer had been counting down ever since the last one was postponed two weeks ago. Even Lexie was excited to go. I guess she knew sleepovers were fun since they also had one last weekend with some of their friends. Before we met up with my mom for the drop off yesterday, Summer had her 8th swimming lesson which went great. This week she finally warmed up to them and is excited for her next lesson on Monday. She is ready to do some "alligators" she says. I think that is where they swim across the pool with their arms straight and hands stacked, face in the water blowing bubbles and kick. Anyways, I am so happy she finally turned the corner and is ready to learn to swim. As a special treat, the teacher lets the girls jump in the big pool at the end of class. Their actual class is done in an endless pool. She jumped off the side 3 times and swam to the teacher. I was so proud because until these classes, she would not jump off the side without holding my hands and wearing a floatation device. Her first 8 class session is over and the next one starts Monday. She is still in the beginner class and on her certificate the teacher told her she needed to work on blowing bubbles with her eyebrows in the water. The girls were excited to go off with Memaw afterwards.

This morning they were both having a great time when I showed up to help transport them to Tigers for Tomorrow to see some big cats. Lexie enjoyed watching Barney on the drive there. Summer and her cousins rode with Memaw and Nanny. There were more cats than we could've imagined there: tigers, African lions, mountain lions, black leopards and servals. There were also a few wolves, some coatimundis, foxes, bears, emus, a zebra, a camel, a llama, a turkey, a chicken, a rooster and tons of goats. It was a very cool experience for us all. Little Lexie looked like the perfect snack to some of the cats and it was crazy to see them eyeballing her and ready to pounce on her if they could've gotten to her. She had no clue though and was not the least bit afraid. We got there just in time to see them being fed which made the experience even cooler. There were no pics allowed though which was the only bummer. Well, that and the car ride home was too long for Summer. Thankfully, she fell asleep before she drove me crazy. Lexie crashed not long after we got in the car. I just love seeing their cute little faces - awake or sleeping. They are precious girls!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sleepover hangover

Summer must be making up for lost sleep today. It is almost 8:00 and she is still not up. I should be showering and getting ready for our school visit this morning, but the couch has caught me. On Saturday night, my friends Selena and Alicia came over with their girls. Of course, one dad just had to tag along, but he escaped most of the party and watched UFC while tending to the baby. Summer was playing Sorry with her dad when her friend Sidda showed up. She has really enjoyed that game a lot since getting it from her friend Katie for Christmas. Clint doesn't know the rules, so he has to run every move by me it seems. You would think he could read the box sitting in the floor beside him, but I guess it does feel good to be cooking dinner and yet involved in the game. So, I won't complain too much.

Not long after Sidda got there, Selena and her gang showed up. The girls were all introduced and the playing began. Alicia and her girls arrived and we all gathered in the kitched to make pizzas and quesadillas. The Wii dance games were a major hit. Summer did not put up too much of a fuss when she had to share the #1 remote. Each time the kids came back to the game after doing whatever, someone new ended up with the Wii remote and not by accident. They "called it," you know? I was happy to see her share and also to not put up a big fuss about winning or losing. However, I she and Liliane definitely hung up their remotes before Sidda and Willow. They were the dance queens. Well, until the adults started dancing. Then, they were toast. :)

The girls got hair and nail makeovers. They all loved getting their finger and toe nails painted. Surprisingly, Summer did not do "rainbow colors" on her fingers. She stuck with pink with white cat and flower stamps. On her toes, she varied the color on each toe and got some flower stickers on her big toe. I think two of the other girls did different colors on each finger nail and solids on the toes. They were pretty patient considering there were 3 moms and 6 girls getting painted. Lexie was the first to request her toes being painted. Her mom did her fingers and toes a few weeks ago and she loved to show them off. The older girls also picked out colors for their hair to be sprayed with. They also highlighted the color with a little glitter paint. I'm sure they all have a few flakes of it left in their hair. The paint comes out easily, but glitter is glitter and seems to have a mind of its own.

The girls were in bed around eleven, but did not finally go to sleep until midnight when Alicia decided she would sleep with them. When I tucked Summer in, she said "What about my bedtime story?" Love it! I told her that I'm sure they would be telling their own stories and she was happy with that. They had a great time in that hour jumping on beds and whispering and just being silly girls. They were up by 8 and ready for breakfast and more Wii games. After gobbling down cinnamon rolls, sausage biscuits and yogurt, they got dressed and danced until it was time to go. It was a great experience which I definitely think needs to be repeated. Girls just want to have fun!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Swimming lessons

I can't believe my little girl will be 5 years old in a few months. I've mentioned her birthday party to her, but we haven't decided on anything yet. I know we will be doing it early due to a vacation. I am soooo ready for the vacation. The main reason Summer is in swimming lessons right now is because we will have a pool in our backyard for a month, and I want her to be able to swim or at least have some basic water survival skills. Her last lesson was definitely her best. She was not happy to have to go to 3 lessons this week to make up a snow day. The first two days we went she was upset and not happy at all to be there. She really does not want to put her face in the water or go underwater at all for that matter. The last few classes, we have tried goggles and they seem to be helping her to loosen up and relax. Now if only we can get her to keep them on. The other little girl has always happily worn goggles, but she pulls them off everytime she finishes a task. I guess at that age it is hard to just leave them on for more than a few minutes. By the end of the last lesson, she was smiling and seemed more confident and relaxed. I hope this week she doesn't dread going, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

We are visiting two schools this week. I am nervous, but excited. I don't know which one I want her to go to more at this point, but maybe after the tours I will have a better idea. It really depends on where she is accepted too. I know there is limited space at least one of the schools. We might possibly have to add other schools to our list, but I really hope not. Here's hoping for happy school hunting!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The new kid on the block

Is there a saying that dogs don't pee in the same place twice? Or, poop for that matter. It looks like I've got another child to potty train. Darn Santa. LOL Shortly after I let Trixie out this morning, she peed on the rug. I know she pooped in "her room" aka the laundry room last night. Not on the pee pad though, but in her usual poop spot in that particular room. Maybe it's time to put down another pee pad in there. It is clear that I MUST have an artificial grass pee pad for the condo unless I make a habit of taking her out. It really isn't that much of a bother and fresh air is always nice for the girls. She doesn't really seem to mind going outside too much now that she is a few weeks older and a little bit bigger, even in the cold. She loved the ice in the driveway earlier this week. Summer is always game for a trip outside, unless she is on the phone with her cousins and Auntie like she was yesterday. I'm not even sure she noticed me and Lexie leaving with Trixie. She was very enthralled in the conversation she was having.

There was supposed to be a grandbaby sleepover on Friday, but it got cancelled due to illness. On Thursday, Summer woke up coughing, very warm and with one slightly matted eye. She had been rubbing her eyes all evening before bed, even after a bath to wash and rinse it out. Around midnight, she came and got me to potty and I noticed she was warm. Her temperature was 100.5, so I found the newly bought children's ibuprofen tablets and got her 1 1/2 to chew up. They were orange flavored, and she didn't put up too much of a fuss about it. But, she did say later that they made her throat feel funny or hurt; I can't remember which. Anyways, we got dressed right away and headed to the doctor. The girls had breakfast in the waiting room - cheese, turkey and pretzel goldfish. Summer surprised me that morning and actually asked for chocolate milk. I can't remember the last time she has willingly, without a fuss, drank chocolate milk. I knew then, she was sick. The next day she definitely put up a fuss about it and only drank the 1/2 glass she was asked to. Well, almost. I let it go since she was sick and not feeling well. She didn't eat very much at all for the next few days. She was diagnosed with some sort of virus, including conjunctivitis -- pink eye. Not the treatable kind of course, this being a virus and not a bacteria. Summer has been pretty good about washing her hands, but has not and will not touch a drop of hand sanitizer. I'm pretty sure this has something to do with her thumb sucking and having tasted it on several occasions via her thumb. My nephew was also sick with pneumonia and unable to go outside. So, the plans for the sleepover were put on hold for two weeks. Summer is counting down the days. She loves, loves, loves, to spend time with her cousins. She also hoping there will be two extra grandbabies at this next sleepover. 2 adults vs. 5 kids -- the odds are great! I might have to join in on this sleepover if I can get permission. LOL

Despite the snow and being away from home, we managed to get through 4 more letters (g, h, i & j) this week. She got a new game, "Sorry," from Katie for Christmas. It is a lot of counting and she loves it so she has been working on her numbers too. Shows like Word World, Sesame Street and Super Why have also played a part in her educational growth this week. I love PBS channels and the quality shows they provide for kids. Sprout, Nick Jr. and Disney also provide some educational type shows, but I still don't let her watch just anything on them. The kids comedy/ soap opera like shows that come on are off limits. No Hannah Montana, iCarly, Wizards of Waverly Place, or The Suite Life in this house. Kids learn too much too fast in my opinion so I like to shelter mine when I can. I like shows that focus on positive values and behaviors rather than violence and negativity. Barney is the supreme master of them all around here. Summer was always a fan and now Lexie is too. At least there is one thing they can pretty much always agree on and that's Barney. Summer does like to watch something other than that, but if Barney is on and she walks into the room, chances are she's going to watch it.

I emailed two schools this week to see about setting up visits so we can finalize where Summer will be going. I've only heard back from one, but I think most schools were closed all week so I'm sure I will hear from the other this next week. The two we are looking at are Bright School and St. Peter's Episcopal School. But, we are not definitely set on either. I'll admit Summer's not the only one who's not looking forward to the school year ahead. But, she's growing up and that's what has to happen. I hope our campus tours give us a clear picture of what would best suit her. Okay, my nerves are starting to twitch. I must move on.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowed in

It snowed as predicted Sunday night, and we awoke to a winter wonderland on Monday at Memaw's house. Sledding was first on the list after breakfast. The snow was so deep though, that it needed to be packed down before any good sledding happened. After lunch, we headed to the gorge with Clint, Josh, Amanda and her friend. The road had been plowed, but was still covered in snow and ice. It was a very fun and fast ride. Summer only went down it 2 or 3 times because she prefers the slower rides. After all of our toes and hands were freezing, we headed back to my mom's house. Over the next few days, we hung out and played games, watched cartoons, and played in the snow. We tried to build a snowman, but the snow was not good packing so it ended up being a snow castle. We couldn't find a flag, but Summer added trees to it with sticks. Scratch, one of their dogs, wanted to help, but she was only tearing it down. I think she might be the culprit who got the snowman we built in the last snow. Summer didn't seem to mind the cold outside as much as Lexie who was not a fan of walking in deep snow or wearing gloves which led to cold hands and short stays outside for her. We were all happy to see the snow and were not ready for it to end when it did. Clint came out and moved my car down the street on Wednesday so we could come home to him. It was sad to leave our winter wonderland where we were secluded and surrounded only by those we love.

In a way it was nice to be home and have the puppy pooping on a different floor. LOL She does pretty good using the pee pad for peeing, but pooping is hit or miss....mostly miss. Luckily, her poop is pretty small and solid so not too disgusting if you don't think about it and worry about germs too much. Summer really loves her dog. This morning she said again, that she was the best puppy and was so happy Santa found the perfect gift. Too bad her daddy hasn't found that affection yet. He did hold her yesterday which is a step in the right direction. Amanda even snapped a pic of the momentous occasion with her phone. But, then Trixie lost all her points again when she peed on our bed while he was watching TV in there. Oops! Summer loves to kiss her puppy, but is not too good about just letting the dog snuggle on her lap. It must be hugged and flopping/flying around in her arms. So far, the dog seems OK with everyone and I think she is really well socialized since she goes most places we go....even church a few times. She is getting really good at running and darting out of your hands too. I think maybe the kids want her more than she wants them sometimes which leads to a game of chase. She's pretty fast and wins most of the time until her hunter takes a slower approach at getting her.

Maybe today we will get in a little more sledding. Summer had gone once since we got back from my mom's. Yesterday, her daddy took her and she only went once. I'm guessing it was too fast of a ride. Cross your fingers for slow rides today so Summer can really enjoy the rest of the snow while we have it. She's already asked to go in the hot tub later and I'm a little iffy since she has some sort of virus. But, maybe we can work on her bubble blowing before her 3rd swim lesson tonight. I'm hoping she will play a dancing game with me on the Wii today. Usually, she won't play against me because I always win. Last time, she did tell me I cold play without the remote though. Her favorite song right now is "Earth Song" on the Michael Jackson game. She really rocks it out and it is so cute to watch her, but even more fun to dance along. Who knows what all the day will bring? Good times, I'm sure!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

On the Agenda

This week was a success workbook wise. Summer worked on lowercase letters a-f. She is still not overenthusiastic about repetitive writing of the same letter, but somehow we make it through it. The reading readiness book seems to be more fun for her. Right now we are working on ending and beginning sounds. I hope we will use her Tag system sometime over the weekend and work on short vowel sounds. But, she has a friend over so that might be asking too much. It is funny how when there is someone else here for her to play with I am chopped liver. Well, maybe not funny, but that's the way it is. I didn't even get to read her a bedtime story last night because her and Katie were finishing up crafting and she didn't ask when I told her I was going to bed. I'm sure they had their own stories though. Hopefully, she will not come down this morning saying "You're phone ringing. Hey, you're phone ringing...." Last time we had a sleepover with Katie and her cousins, they stayed up late listening to Katie's phone ringers and repeating the ones they really liked. I heard the one above again yesterday, and for some reason it is slightly annoying to me and makes me cringe. Maybe one day it will leave her memory, but I'm not going to count on it.

We've also worked on numbers up to 25. Now when we do dot-to-dot number pictures, I have her say the numbers out loud so she will associate the word with what the number actually looks like. I think it is helping her because she still doesn't really know above 10 just by looking at the numbers. She also had to count backwards from 10 on one of her math worksheets. These things seem small, but it is neat to see her learning them.

Her first swimming lessons were this week. To be honest, she was not looking forward to them --at all. She has a fear of going under the water because she doesn't want to get water in her nose. She doesn't like it at all apparently. I hope she will overcome this. To get her used to it, the teacher has them blow bubbles. First, with their mouth in water. Then, with mouth and nose. And last, with their eyebrows in the water. We may have to have a couple of practice sessions this weekend in the bath to even get the nose in there. I'm not going to count on eyebrows for sure. I could probably bribe her into doing it by letting her get in the hot tub. I hope she will just do it in the bath tub though. Maybe Lexie will jump aboard and blow some bubbles too. After her first class, she let me know that she was not excited that she had gotten water in her nose during class. But, other than that there were no complaints and I think she enjoyed the parts where her head was above water. At the beginning of the 2nd class, she looked more nervous than the first. I kept a smile on my face and a cheer in my body language to try to give her a little more confidence. She didn't complain after class and at the end even swam a little by herself -- head above water. The teacher was trying to get her to blow bubbles, but Summer insisted on doing it the hard way with her head above water. One day.....

Gymnastics also started back after a two week break for the holidays. She was very excited to go to her class. I'm glad she is enjoying it. When I watch her, I see her not doing some things and taking the easy way out. It is a good thing we are not in the room or I am sure I would find myself scolding her. Sometimes, it is just better to step back and let her get out of the class what she will. I'm glad I realized that because I could've very easily been one of those parents who yells across the gym at their kid to do better. Lexie thought she was ready to start back, but she did not make it through the whole class and was ready to just go watch Summer before it was over. Her attention span just isn't long enough for the whole 45 minutes yet. She did really good on the first station and was all gung-ho and leading the way. There are 4 stations at each class and they spend about 10 minutes on each one. On the 2nd station, she was ready to head over to where Summer was. I think she wants to be in Summer's class. Maybe then she would be able to stay on track the whole class, but she is not ready to do it without someone holding her hand and leading her yet. In Summer's class, she wouldn't have that.

Next week music is added to the mix. Summer and Lexie both love it and enjoy being in the same class. Summer has even learned to share my lap with Lexie without a fuss. In addition to all of the classes we have lined up, I'm sure we will still find time to go to their other favorite places -- the Creative Discovery Museum, Chuck E Cheese, playgrounds and ice cream shops. This week we went to the aquarium to check out the new octopus. We started at the end and went backwards which felt pretty weird the whole way. But, they really enjoyed the underwater viewing area a lot more than usual. I guess their attention span had not been depleted since it was the first stop on our visit. Afterwards, we went to the snack place across from the aquarium and we all three fell in love with their chili Frito thing that has cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, chives, chili and Frito's. I had initially gotten it for me, but Summer and Lexie ate at least half of it. They quickly set their brownies down when it got to the table. Summer said it was delicious, and I think Lexie agreed. They both like chili so I'm not surprised. We may also try to start going to story time at the library again. I know Summer used to enjoy it, especially the craft at the end. Not sure if it will be a firm commitment though since we already have so much on our plate. I sure am glad I get to spend my days with my little girl. I know it is truly a blessing to be able to do it, and I am thankful for every moment of it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year and Travels

When Summer heard me wish someone that a day or so before the new year, she asked me why. It was cute, and I explained what it meant to her. She is always excited about holidays. They mean something exciting is bound to happen. I can't blame her though, it is fun to have special days in our lives. Not that every day isn't special, but some definitely seem more special than others.
We spent a few days in Gatlinburg to visit some of the attractions on her Give Kids the World Passport which will expire in March. It's hard to believe that it has been almost a year since her Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World. Time sure flies when you grow up. I remember as a kid thinking it all went by so slowly. Our first stop after lunch at Ruby Tuesdays and an energy kick from Starbucks, was Ripley's Old MacDonald Farm. I was surprised when we showed up and it was a putt-putt place, but it was all good, and free, so no complaints were heard from us. Summer did a pretty good job getting through the course. She was most excited about the ramps they build for the balls to go down and would drop her ball over and over again. There were a couple of holes like that. On one, her ball got wet because it goes through water. She wasn't too excited about that, but got over it when we moved on to the next hole. She really wanted to go back again on our trip, but the other course we could go to was closed until the weekend. Afterwards, we left through the arcade and had to cash in a few bucks for tokens. After her 8 tokens were gone, she was ready to cash her tickets in for a prize. Trixie went on a little potty break while she chose what she wanted. Oh yeah, we brought the new puppy along for the trip. She was snuggled up in the red purse I was wearing the whole game. It was definitely an experience wearing her around for two days. I'm not sure if she got motion sickness the first day, but she had some "issues" when we got back to the hotel room. Luckily, she was back to normal the next day so no worries there. She is snuggled up in my lap now. Oh what a cuddly thing she is! It is kind of sad, but I think she prefers me to Summer at least when it comes to snuggling. It must be that I don't fly her through the air or bounce her around the house all day. LOL Her intentions are good though and she knows she needs to be gentle with the puppy. She's much better than Lexie who, although she doesn't realize it, really puts the death grip on. Her playing with the puppy is definitely a situation that needs to be supervised!

Next, we headed into Gatlinburg to get a hotel room and see some more of the attractions included in her passport. Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum was a much greater hit than Ripley's Moving Theater, which neither Clint or Summer enjoyed. Trixie either for that matter. She woke up and climbed out of the purse. We all got off after the first movie - a sled ride. The theater spit snow/water at you along the way so it wasn't just the moving they disliked. Oh well, like I said, the museum made up for it. It was one of the best attractions Ripley's has in my opinion.We also went to their Mirror Maze and The Guinness Book of World Records (my least favorite). The mirror maze was fun for us all and one of Summer's favorite things. At least she said it was before we went to Ober Gatlinburg. Then we did so much there she said she couldn't decide, but that she liked everything we did on the trip. I'm sure she wasn't including the moving theater though. We also went to the Ripley's Aquarium which had some pretty cool things our hometown aquarium doesn't have. Summer really enjoyed it; I think we all did.

Once we got up the mountain via the tram, our first stop was the wildlife exhibit which had 3 black bears, 3 otters, some snakes, a snapping turtle, several species of owls, a gold eagle, a falcon that was blueish purple, fish, raccoons, lizards, skunks, and squirrels. Summer enjoyed watching the otters and turtles eat their lunch. We even saw lizards eating crickets. Next stop was the carousel. Then ice skating. Summer was a little wary going into it seeing as how she has never done it before. When she got her skates on, she wasn't feeling any better. She quickly realized that walking in them was not easy, nor was skating. But, before we got off the ice, she was a little more confident and could at least go a few feet without falling. It was rough on my back trying to keep her from falling by holding her hands, but it was worth it to help her out. Once she accidentally did a twirl, and she wanted to repeat it over and over. That was easier said than done though. Our ice adventure ended when she fell and hit her head. After that, we talked about how you have to practice and keep trying to learn things sometimes. I can't say she left there gung-ho on trying it again, but I'm sure in a few years she will get the hang of it if she tries. She actually has an upcoming skating party so we need to pull out her training skates and get to rolling.

After we refueled with pizza, burgers, fries and ice cream, we were on our way to the chair lift. Yes, she ordered ice cream as her main course, but she surprised me by eating a piece of my personal pan pizza. So, it was not a complete junk fest. Or, maybe it was. :) It was nice that we all three could ride the chair lift together. She rode in my lap which she may be too big to do next time. On the way up the mountain, we looked for things that people had dropped - flip flops, gloves, scarves, etc. It was pretty chilly and when we got to the top, and Summer finally agreed that gloves were a good idea. Her daddy and I were already on board with that one. We snapped a few shots and headed back down to the car where Trixie was waiting on us. She had wiggled her way out of her sweater which I've learned is no big surprise. Summer picked out two outfits for her while we were shopping to help keep her warm should we venture outdoors. Unfortunately, Trixie doesn't like them nearly as much as we do, but we'll work on that.

Happy New Year! Let's all toast to many safe travels for us in the year ahead!