Sunday, July 8, 2012

Good Ol' Summertime

The fifth load of laundry is in the washing machine, and by the looks of the piles I have sorted on the laundry room floor, there are six more to go.  The past week has been filled with nearly all of our favorite summertime activities, crammed into one wonderful week of sun-kissed cheeks, tummies filled with ice cream and s'mores and eleven loads of really dirty clothes, towels and sleeping bags.

Cooling off on the Slip-N-Slide
It began last weekend with a picnic with Joe's family.  Saturday evening was enjoyed by both our families with some good times on the slip-n-slide, bike rides, super swinging on our "Paul Bunyan" swing set and supper hot off the grill.  The weather was perfect and the bugs stayed away long enough to enjoy the entire evening outside.  We've discovered that Sam is not a fan of the heat, and he kind of goes into sleep mode while it's hot outside, but when it cools off in the evening he perks right up to his happy old self!  Our kids all get along so great and we are really enjoying our newfound friendship.

Joe and a very sleepy Sam
Joe's Big Sister with her feet in the trees....we call our
swing set the "Paul Bunyan" swing set...this is why!


This is going to sound silly, but I made myself a goal for our picnic with Joe's family.  The sole reason we are in each other's lives is because our sons have Down syndrome, and if it weren't for that, this little picnic wouldn't have taken place otherwise.  However, as we've gotten to know Joe's family, we've really come to enjoy their company, all Down syndrome things aside.  With that said, I vowed to enjoy the evening with good friends and not talk about, ask questions about or bring up anything Down syndrome related.  I'm realizing that even though, yes, we have Down syndrome in common, it's far from the only thing we have in common.  We enjoy a lot of the same things, and our time spent together shouldn't be shadowed by Down syndrome.  Guess what?  I did it.  A couple times, I just about asked questions pertaining to Down syndrome, but I held my tongue. The closest we came to discussing Down syndrome was when we got an update on how summer preschool was going for Joe. I know in my heart that I can call Joe's mom 24 hours a day if I have questions or concerns, and I wasn't about to spoil a great evening with my questions and worries.  It was WONDERFUL!

At Camp Joy with counselors and friends
The next day, our oldest was off to bible camp for a few days and I got to start my weeklong vacation.  We didn't do anything too exciting Monday or Tuesday other than try to beat the heat at the pool and Grandma's lake.  Sam got to meet a new friend who he'll go to school with someday, a friend from Kevin's work just had a little boy a couple weeks ago.  We woke up on the fourth to the sweltering heat and got ourselves ready for the 4th of July parade in our town.  Our 4H club had a float.  While Sam stayed home with my mom so he wouldn't melt, the rest of us headed to town to toss candy to the many onlookers and encourage others to join 4H.

Immediately after the parade, we headed home to pack for our five-day stay at our favorite place in the summer, Lost Valley Resort.  We had to change clothes before we left because packing left us all wringing wet with sweat!  The first thing we did at the resort was jump into the lake.  Sam was hungry shortly after we got there, so I plopped a camping chair in the shallow part by the shoreline and Sam enjoyed a bottle IN the water.  This is the life!

Just one of SEVERAL
ice cream cones!!
That evening, we enjoyed several different fireworks shows from around the lake and headed to bed WAY past our bedtime.  The following morning, two other families joined us for the weekend.  We enjoyed many many hours in the lake, swimming, tubing and kneeboarding, eating s'mores and ice cream (after our carrots and celery of course), going for walks and bike rides and hanging out by the campfire.

Sam thoroughly enjoyed his first camping trip, spending a ton of time napping in the shade of the birch trees by the shore or in the air conditioned comfort of the camper.  He was the only kid of 8 who didn't sleep in the tent and get flooded our second morning there, and he was also the only kid who didn't eat about a gallon of ice cream over the weekend.  No joke, our group, which included six adults and eight kids, consumed 71, I repeat SEVENTY ONE ice cream cones over the course of our stay!  (Our family racked up 35 of those!!)  I have NO doubt that next year, Sam will add several to that number!

Tomorrow, it's back to work and hopefully a regular laundry load.  This week, we'll celebrate a birthday in our family, as our second oldest turns 6!

Sam's therapy is going great, and he's continuing to make progress.  We tried nursing again while camping (because it's easier than washing all those darn pumping parts and pieces), and while he did a great job, it's back to pumping now.  He's so darn rambunctious while he eats, he barely gets the job done even with a bottle.

Sam is bringing SO very much joy to our lives.  Even at three months old, the girls still fight over who will hold him first, who will hold him the longest and who loves him more.  It amazes me every day how much my life has changed with him in it.  While some days are better than others, I feel like I'm more patient and learning to love deeper than ever before.  I've become a person who accepts everyone and everything more openly, and I'm watching Sam do that to others around him as well.  Every single child is such a blessed gift and brings beautiful things into our lives.  My cup is still truly overflowing, my mind is still truly overwhelmed, my heart is still truly filled, and my family is still  truly blessed.  This life, while not quite what I had planned, is perfect.

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