Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"And the gift goes on..."

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

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

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The day after

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

4 days to Jesus' birthday

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A family tradition

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The elf is back

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

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

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No more spots!

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

Friday, December 3, 2010

22 days and counting

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

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

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