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 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.