If you asked me if I like summer, I would probably say "no" right away. Being a very, very white girl, I could never stand the sun and heat. I always get at least one major sunburn each summer. The heat makes my head ache and my face flush. I am miserable. My freckles come out in droves. Someone said to me the other day (who was just as fair-skinned as I) that she keeps thinking she will wake up one day, all her freckles will connect, and she will finally have a tan. I laughed because it sounds just like me!
Now that we have children (and a 4-year old who soaks up the sun), I spend many days outside. I actually sport a small tan (and, yes, I have had my major sunburn already). We have had an incredibly jam-packed summer with more to come. At the end of the day, I am exhausted and ready for bed, yet I look forward to the next day and what it will bring. I am actually enjoying summer! Last week, we had two outings to the zoo (different zoos with different sides of the family). I love that both Jamie and Clare are at an age to really enjoy themselves on our family trips. We have seen such a difference in Clare this year with our summer outings. She is still very heat- and sun-sensitive, but as long as we keep her cool, she wants to be active and involved in all we do. At York's Wild Kingdom, we ended the day on the rides. The super big slide was voted hands down the best ride there. (You know the kind of slide that's taller than your house and you get to sit on a burlap sack so you go extra fast.) Clare sat on my lap the first time down. She was very unsure as she watched her brother and cousin go screaming down the slide. Our turn came and off we flew. Although I could not see her facial expressions, when we stood up, she looked at me, and hopefully signed, "More?" How can you resist? Just like Jamie and their cousins, Clare went down the slide again and again. Thankfully Auntie Becky was willing to go on the spinning rides with Jamie. After doing the Fun House, I was all set on rides, thank you.
Clare is gaining her confidence back with walking independently. After her two bad falls a couple weeks ago, she has been reluctant to let go of hands and furniture. But this past weekend, she walked repeatedly between my dad and Shawn. Since coming home, she walks around much more. We do see her stamina wavering towards the end of the day or after walking around a bit. She spent a couple hours on a playdate yesterday (her first playdate by herself - no Mommy or brothers with her - what a big girl!), and came home totally exhausted and went right to bed for three hours. We don't know if it's the increased walking or her heart acting up again that is the cause of her fatigue. If it is her heart, we're not worrying too much because she has an echo in two weeks and her next catheterization is scheduled for September 14.
This coming weekend, we are driving down to the Worcester Ecoterium to participate in a Congenital Heart Defect day with other children who are or were patients at Boston Children's Hospital. Although we have done many WS events now, this will be our first "heart" event. I am always amazed at the number and variety of heart defects there are and how many children suffer from a congenital heart defect. It is events like these that reinforce how blessed we are to live where we do and that ensures Clare receives care from the best of the best.