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


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.