Adrian graduated from elementary school. He's never been so happy.
Evie had her first ballet performance en pointe'.
I'm so proud of her.
We had fun taking pictures at night afterward.
Evie wanted our mattresses so we also redid her room and packed up a lot of her "childhood things", like dolls and stuffed animals. They grow up so fast! If you have a little girl hug her and play with her because in the blink of an eye they change. Now it's even harder to get our teen out of bed in the mornings. That's okay. Summer is for sleeping in and being bored (if you are a kid and have that luxury).
It's for long days spent in the backyard.
Chasing balloons and goofing around.
Eating meals outdoors.
Iced drinks with herbs. Fresh raspberries and other treats from the garden.
Playing in the yard.
And swimming in the pool.
Although I prefer to stay home we have gotten out a few times. We're lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world.
Picnic at Lincoln Park in West Seattle.
Even as accessible as it was at this place, access is not easy when you are differently abled. Sometimes it breaks my heart a little that Ainsley can't run with the other kids. She manages to be happy but a day at the beach just isn't the same for her as for most kids. A walker just doesn't do well on a rocky beach full of logs, even if you can get it down the drop off.
It was about all I could do to get Ainsley down to sit on a log. She signed that she wanted to fly the kite like her brother. She fusses about it now where she used to be fairly content. I imagine it makes her sad and frustrated but since she can't talk I really don't know.
Who could blame her for wanting to do this?! Someday she will. I took a walk down the boardwalk with my girlfriends. I cried a couple tears for her and for me. This life isn't always easy. Then I felt better.
Sometimes it is easier to leave Ainsley at home with her nurse. Sometimes I do. But then I feel guilty that she is missing out. Like the day I took Evie, Adrian and Penny to Lake Sammamish state park with their cousins. It was beautiful!
Me and my SIL.
Eagles soared overhead.
A view of the lake. It would have exhausted me to pull her and all our stuff all this way. And so I try not to feel guilty and just know I'm doing my best to balance everyone's needs.
Sometimes I think it's nice to take Ainsley's brother and sister to do things people normally do quite easily like go to the movies. When we do I'm amazed at how much easier it is. It is good for them to have some times with me that things are easy and I'm not stressed.
Other times we take Ainsley along even when it is not easy. Like for example on this hot day when Menchie's was packed with kids and parents. Walking her through the crowded self-serve area with all the kids excitely rushing about, trying to help her walk and also pick out and serve her frozen yogurt and juggle to pay. We get lots of looks and people aren't always patient. I pretend not to notice.
Even after sampling it first she then decided she only wanted one bite. It was still worth it. My sweet girl! I loved how excited she was. It's a rare treat in our family but the kids had good dental checkups and deserved it! 13 years and not a single cavity among them. Whoohoo!
I was very happy not to host the 4th of July this year. We had a great time. Here are some of the highlights.
Ainsley with Adrian's firework blaster.
Adrian as the 4th of July leprechaun (inside joke).
Ainsley enjoyed the sparklers....
.....and the firework show from the field at the top of the hill in Sammammish. Penny laid quietly in my lap.
She's such a good dog and is loved very much. She's so sweet with Ainsley too.
This year Ainsley is enrolled in summer school. She started on the 7th and goes to the end of July. She was excited to go off to school. I hope it's a good experience for her. We had an issue with one of her nurses and had to let her go. Thankfully our main nurse, who has been with us 5 years, stepped up to work the additional days (she's part time with kids of her own).
We (re)started a new plan: enlisting the whole family's help with Ainsley's "therapy". We each are required to spend 20 minutes per day working on something for her betterment. Some activities are simple like playing a game of alphabet Go Fish, but for a child who can't speak and doesn't know her letters, it's really more therapy than fun. My hope is that she will be more likely to learn the letters in this context.
Luckily Adrian loves games so he had fun despite the slow pace and added steps.
The kids receive tokens for their work (that can be redeemed later for various things) and I think it's going to be really good for Ainsley as well as Evie and Adrian.
We consulted with a PT at Children's and she believes the biggest obstacle for Ainsley walking is that her legs don't fully straighten. So I have ramped up our stretching efforts. With all the extra standing she will do in the pool, plus the time at school, I'm excited to see where she is at come fall.
Adrian's developed an interest in archery over the last year or so, after the Percy Jackson party, but had outgrown the kid's bow we'd bought. I took him to a shop while Ainsley was at school and Evie was at the beach with a friend. It was great one-on-one time for us. He got some tips from a very nice man and we bought him a new bow for his birthday which is this week! It was really fun, and I think we might do that more often since kids can shoot all day for $5 at The NockPoint.
Remember the magazine photoshoot taken in our backyard last year? Well it was finally released so if you want to see all their pictures click here and/or here.
After spending money on landscaping and a new bed we don't have any big expensive trips planned for the summer. It will be more fun being home if we consider it a "staycation". I have a few tips: These above ground pools (below), when the liner gets holes that can no longer be patched, you can order a replacement liner for less (Bonus: it's more environmentally friendly too). We got ours this week so the pool is now set up just in time for the 90 degree weather. Also: Did you know they make solar heaters? Since Ainsley gets pretty cold and the PT said that swimming is excellent exercise for Ainsley we bought one and it seems to add about 10 degrees to the temperature.
I think you'll pretty much find us in the backyard all summer this year.
Tomorrow morning Ainsley has eyelid surgery for her left eye. After a previous surgery years ago her corner eyelashes rotated inward. I've been tweezing them but decided to have them permanently removed with electrolysis. That meant letting them grow out. Then unfortunately our June surgery date was taken and we were rescheduled for a month and a half later. Can you imagine having an eyelash poking your eye for MONTHS? I am so ready for it to be gone. (We couldn't pull it because then they wouldn't be able to do the procedure.) I've been worried it would fall out, but thankfully it hasn't. In addition the surgeon is opening up the corner of the eye more to give her a larger opening. I hope that after she heals and the lash is gone she will use her sling to open her eyes more, like she had been.
I also hope this is the end of daily eye goop like this.
Please think good thoughts for the surgery to be a success.
We expect to be home in the afternoon. I expect it won't be a terribly difficult recovery since only one eye will have an incision, but the surgeon still wants her to stay home from school for a week.
We have other BIG NEWS that I will post about as soon as I can.