Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Vacation pics

Where's Summer? Oh, she's watching a Blues Clues dvd under her blanket snuggled up with Trixie. Summer's stepping stone
Lexie's got one too.

Putt-putt time! The girls have their own ways of hitting the ball. Summer had definitely improved from her 1st time which was earlier this year.

Is that an angel? The weather was perfect for some outdoor fun.

Steak, it's what's for dinner!

Did they give that pirate a tattoo?

Another pirate!!! Looking at the treasure map. Is it upside down???? Summer thinks so!
So, apparently I was the only one ready for this one. Summer's anticipating the loud horn and Lexie is slurping up her soda which she doesn't get often. Good times!
My beautiful pirate is ready for adventure!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Lazy morning

It was a nice morning for a stroll down the beach. The shell bug bit me and I gathered up more than I need I'm sure. Yesterday, the girls and I went to Michaels to get some frames for the caricature of Summer and the can art we bought at the pier. The frames we got will be perfect for gluing on shells from our vacation. So, I've been trying to collect plenty so we will have a nice variety to choose from. When I got back from my walk, the girls were up as usual. Summer was curled up on her daddy's lap watching something on the history channel. With me here to take over caring for the girls, he headed out for his morning run. Shortly after Summer remembered the stepping stone craft kits we bought yesterday and was ready to do hers. She and Lexie both were very excited to get started on their own one. Summer's stone has a puppy dog theme and came with rocks and a few stamps to use. Lexie's has a moon and star theme. We ended up putting their hand prints and names on them and they both added a few shells for good measure. It was a lot of fun for us and I am glad we got them. I'm especially glad that they were on sale too. I love a good deal!

I think Lexie and I are off to the beach until lunch. Looks like Summer is going to do another painting project with one of her birthday craft kits. She never seems to get enough of creating and has even been sharing some of her work with the chemo patient we are angeling. So far she has sent 3 of her creations off - a paperoni fish, a sparkling painted rainbow and a beautifully colored picture of a few flamingos. So glad she is learning to share the wealth! :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Big sister, big brother

Summer's older siblings came to visit us at the beach house over the weekend. The girls had fun coloring with Amanda on several occasions. She wrote their names in big block letters and they colored them in. We've got several new pieces of art thanks to their efforts this weekend.

We ended up eating at Frency's Rockaway Grill for Amanda's birthday just as we did for Summer's last week. Clint and I both ordered the same thing that we did the week before. Crazy coincidences!! After filling our bellies, we headed to Pier 60 to enjoy the evening's festivities. Summer and I fell in love with a piece of can art that was being created. It was a beach scene with all the colors of the rainbow in the sky similar to the sunsets we have seen while here. Another coincidence so we bought it. While it was drying, Summer wanted to go out on the pier and pick something out for Amanda for her 21st birthday. She picked out a pretty belly ring with bright blue crystals and a palm tree. It was very cute, but Amanda lost it before she even got it out of the packaging. It did make it home because I saw it on the counter top one day, but when Amanda started looking for it, it was no where to be found. Needless to say, Amanda was disappointed. I'm not going to tell Summer. ;)

On Friday, we took a flat bottom boat ride around the bay. We were all excited to see the dolphins when we finally found where they were swimming. Summer and Lexie were not as quick to spy them when they surfaced to breathe, but they did get to see a few. The boat stopped on an island, or sand bar, and we got out and explored it for shells. Josh and I snorkeled while Lexie waded into the water with her floats on. Josh found a few sea urchins which were really cool for us to look at. Summer observed from the shore and was not excited to get in the water at all. So, she didn't. After our time was up, the captain took us around to all the celebrity homes including houses owned by Hulk Hogan and Jeff Gordon. He pointed out the Scientology headquarters which was a building that you pass on the way into Clearwater. I had been wondering about it because it has a pretty cross on it that makes it stand out.

We finally put our bikes to use over the weekend. Clint, Summer, Lexie and I all went on a nice bike ride around the neighborhood. It is perfect for Summer because it is a flat and mostly even surface for her to ride on. The only time she lost control was when one of her training wheels came off, but she caught herself with her foot and did not end up with any boo boos from the incidence. Yesterday, when it was just the girls and I riding, she found some puddles left over from the afternoon rain. She loved riding through them and would've done it longer if I would've let her. But, the street started getting busy so we headed back to the house for some snuggle time in front of the TV.

We've made lots of great memories on this vacation so far. I don't think I will ever be ready for it to end. I'm already trying to figure out how I can extend it another week. We have a few free days before more company comes. I am sure they will fly by because time usually does, especially when you are having fun.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Attack of the birds and ants

The vacation continues and we are having a great time despite the fact that we are dealing with a few cases of strep throat. Looks like we will be taking Summer to the doctor this afternoon to get her prescription if we can't get her pediatrician back home to call her one in. Yesterday, I went and got mine. Today we will try a new walk-in clinic if it comes down to us taking her. Right now she is huddled up on the couch feverish and not feeling too good. Poor baby.

This morning the girls and I went to the beach to look at the sting rays along the shoreline. I saw lots of them on my sunrise walk and thought they might enjoy seeing them. So before breakfast, we headed out on our adventure. Lexie was too preoccupied with all the sand to care anything about what was in the water, but Summer did enjoy seeing them. She was fearful of getting stung by one since the babysitter we brought down for the first few days got stung the 2nd day we were here. But, I showed her the foot shuffle trick they told us about at the emergency room ( and by us I mean - Selena and Ariel - thanks for being the guinea pigs!) and they swam away from us. Not sure that is going to calm her fears much, but maybe she will get in one day when there are none around. Poor Lexie somehow found some mean ants and got bit by a few of them on her foot which caused a few tears to be shed. But, they have not bothered her since we got back from the beach so that is good. They were both swimming happily in the pool after lunch time and are now napping away. Summer actually helped me prepare the meatloaf, mashed potatoes and hamburger helper that we had for lunch. That was fun for us both and I am glad she enjoys helping me cook sometimes. Maybe she will be a chef one day or at least a "good cooker" (something she has called me before) for herself and her family should she choose to have one.

Last night, we went out to dinner at Jimmy's fish house. I had a crab stuffed lobster there last week and just had to have another. Summer ate grilled chicken and celery dipped in vinegar and all of the wheat bread they brought to the table. She would not try any lobster, even in vinegar. LOL That really seems to be something she likes. She eats tomatoes in vinegar. She dips her grilled cheese crust in vinegar claiming that is the only way she can eat the crust. Today for lunch she had bell pepper dipped in vinegar along with the hamburger helper she requested. She did not dip it in vinegar though. She's a pretty healthy eater and is very aware of food choices and if they are good for her or not. For breakfast today she had a banana and strawberry smoothie. She loves for me to make her smoothies for snacks. Before bed last night she just had to have her own bowl of apples and strawberries for her bedtime snack. I was happy to oblige.

Anyway, after dinner we headed to the pier to get the special penny I told her she could have when we went a few night before but didn't have any change on us. It is one of those machines where you put in 51 cents and get back an oval shaped penny with a picture on it. She picked a dolphin for hers. Lexie got a balloon dragon from one of the balloon artists. What suckers we are! Then the girls played on the inflatable slides and bouncy house until they were tired and I could wait no longer to get out on the pier and fish. On the way out to the bait house, a table full of bracelets caught our eyes and we picked one out for our new chemo patient. Then Summer picked one for herself. A few tables down, Lexie picked one for herself. Note to self - don't take any more money on the pier. It's all good though because we are supporting local artists who do this for their living. Summer was excited to help me catch some fish and we baited the four hooks on our line with shrimp. We caught fish very quickly which was exciting. The girls loved petting the fish and we tried to throw them back before the pelicans could get to them. I think we succeeded every time and I am glad because one of them bit Lexie on the head while we weren't looking. I was very unhappy at the pelicans at that point because they were kind of a nuisance and now had the kids scared to death. But, that did not ruin our fishing fun and we moved around the pier trying our luck in different locations. The first spot was definitely the best and I eventually made my way back to it after Clint and the kids abandoned me for the playground. Not that I am complaining because then I could actually relax and enjoy fishing without having to worry about them getting attacked by another bird. Plus, they were having fun too so it was a win-win for us all.

Well, let's hope the next few days are a time of healing and no more pain inflicted on any of us. But, that's all part of life. The ups and downs. The good and bad. Thankfully, we are still in paradise so that makes it all the unenjoyable parts a little better. Maybe we will all go watch the sunset at the beach again tonight. We did the other night and it was nice and relaxing. All the colors of the rainbow can be seen in the sky above the ocean when it sets. It is really beautiful. Last night it was kind of cloudy when the sun set and the sun was a pretty red color. I wonder what it will look like tonight.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Clearwater - our paradise

Two Saturdays ago we packed up the cars and headed to Clearwater, Florida. Selena and I left a day earlier than the dads so we could break up the trip for the kids. Summer and Lexie did good pretty much the whole trip which was nice since I was alone with them in the car. They watched a few videos, and Summer played her Leapster 2. There were no whiny breakdowns to drive me crazy - thank God! Trixie did good too and mostly sat in the front passenger seat next to me except when her mommy (Summer) wanted to hold her. We stayed the night in Lake City and were happy the dog did not bark and get us kicked out of the Comfort Inn & Suites. We had a yummy breakfast before we left and headed to our final destination. We were at the house around noon on Sunday. The kids, and moms, were ready to be out of the car. They were very eager to get to the beach and swim in the pool. It was awesome to see them so excited and ready for a beach adventure.

The first week was filled with trips to the beach. Our first day at the beach was the best for the kids because the tide was low and perfect for them to play in. Lexie even warmed up to it after declaring on the way out there that she did not want the water to get her. Ever since then, they have not played in the water as much, but the sand has proved to be quite entertaining itself. On the Lynch's last full day here, we finally built a sand castle, or rather fort decorated with shells. There is definitely no shortage of shells at this beach either! Of course my camera is broken and will not focus anymore since Summer's birthday so I did not get a pic, but I'm pretty sure Selena got quite a few. We adults did most of the work, and were both pretty proud of our creation. It didn't hurt that a member of the Clearwater walking club stopped to take a picture of it for their website. As of this morning, it is still there standing strong. I'm happy we are not in a busy part of the beach where kids would just destroy it in no time.

Summer's favorite thing is the pool. The lessons paid off and she is swimming around like a fish. I think all the kids, except Lexie, like the pool the best. She is always ready to go play in the sand. She does love swimming around in her floaties though. We've got tons of floats and boats for the kids to play with. We even blew up a big float house, but it leaks air too quickly and needs blowing up before anyone is ready to do it again. It is pretty cool though and would be perfect if it would just hold it's form and not buckle at the corners. Oh well, it was on clearance so I'm not going to sweat it too much. There is also a hot tub for us to enjoy and we are extremely happy having it all our back yard.

We have made a few trips to Pier 60 where they have a huge covered playground for the kids to play on. Yesterday we tried out the other playground between here and there which just so happens to be across the street from the sushi restaurant we are falling in love with. Every evening they have a festival at the pier with street performers which are entertaining for the young and old. There are booths selling various nick knacks. I got myself a shell nightlight. Summer scored a picture frame on a shell sculpture that boats three palm trees and a beach all made from shells. On one walk on the pier, we saw two manatees swimming down the coastline. That was pretty cool to us all. Summer really enjoys the bungee trampolines they have there and has done it twice. The 2nd time she almost did a flip, but she doesn't have the power or the know-how to go all the way around. Maybe she'll get it one day. We have yet to walk out to where they fish on the pier, but Summer and I are definitely going to fish there sometime this week. Her daddy, Selena and I went deep sea fishing last week and caught some Spanish mackerel that we cooked up for a few meals. I wish I would've taken Summer on that trip since she caught 5 fish off of our dock the night before we left for Florida. She just might have my fishing gene! Oh well, next time for sure if she wants to go.

Mother's Day was awesome and Summer greeted me with Happy Mother's Day when I got back from taking my brother to the airport. During our vacation, she created a few things just for me. One is a necklace with a painted heart pendant she made with a kit she got for her birthday. She also painted the pot of the orchid Clint picked out for me. What a treasure! She even put her 5 year old hand print on it. I have a few other pots she has decorated over the past few years and am happy to have another one. Let's hope I don't kill the plant! She also made me a card that she painted with her new paints that she got for her birthday. It meant a lot to me that she made it all and just for me. She does not like to part with her creations sometimes. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful daughter.

Well, we are off on another adventure. Until next time......

Friday, May 6, 2011

Five years ago today

We are celebrating Summer's 5th birthday for the 2nd time today. Last week she had a birthday party and invited all of her friends since we were going to be out of town on her actual birthday. We had planned to go to the Chester Frost beach playground, but the day before a tornado hit our area and it was closed when we arrived about 20 minutes before party time. We quickly decided to go to Vandergriff park instead. After texting everyone but one family (Sorry Sophia), we turned around and headed that way. My friend Alicia called to inform me that the place I ordered the cake from, Baskin Robbins, was closed. Thankfully, she was willing to make another stop and headed to Dairy Queen. The ice cream cake she picked out was perfect for Summer and had a big, pretty butterfly on it. The really cool thing about that was that we got Summer a butterfly garden, feeder, net and books for her birthday. Double score for Summer!!! She had a great time playing with her friends. Leah, Jonathan, Liliana, Laila, Katelyn, Jacob, Sidda, Katie, Austin and Lexie all enjoyed the playground as much as Summer did. She loved all her gifts and received quite a few craft projects. She also got quite a few of the things she picked out for her birthday bucket at Learning Express. Memaw and Nanny got her the Pegasus she wanted and Uncle Bradley got her the Cinderalla barbie and horse. Of course when we got home it was close to bedtime so she didn't get to play with much of it, but she has enjoyed playing with it since then.

Yesterday, we let her have one of her presents early since she already knew what it was anyway and was begging for the Littlest Pet Shop bobble head that she can color and decorate with stickers. She actually also got the butterfly garden early too since the caterpillar she found on Easter decided to form a cocoon the day after. This morning we got up, ate breakfast and headed to the playground. The kids played for a little while before it started raining. Luckily, the playground here is covered so it did not spoil their fun. We walked to the ice cream shop in the rain to have some birthday ice cream instead of cake. Summer got cookie dough ice cream in a chocolate and nut dipped cone, but only ate the ice cream. Lexie and Austin both got chocolate and sprinkle dipped cones. Willow chose an ice cream sandwich. They happily chowed down on their treats before we headed out into the pouring rain to walk back to the cars. It was a wet adventure, but they didn't seem to mind too much which was nice since they were going to be getting wet anyway.

After we got home, Summer opened the rest of her presents. While she and Willow painted velvet posters, the younger kids laid down for a nap. Neither of them finished their poster before they were ready for the pool, but that was no biggie. They suited up in their bathing suits and headed out to swim. While they swam, I cooked steak, one of Summer's favorites, for her birthday lunch. She requested some homemade mac and cheese to go with them and I happily obliged. After filling up their bellies, the kids headed back out to the pool which is where they are now.

If it is pretty enough later, we might go to see Yogi Bear at Pier 60. That would be a cool way to finish off her 5th birthday. I'm so thankful she is still here with us. Just two years ago, she was fighting for her life and we didn't know if she would live to see this day. But, now she is happy and healthy and will hopefully remain that way for years to come. The past five years have really flown by and I'm sure the next five will too. Oh what a joy watching her grow!