Sam kicked the summer off with swim lessons. He LOVED his teacher, and begged to go every single day. She was wonderful with him and he learned so much! She moved to Colorado mid summer which was traumatic. It is so hard to take all three boys to the pool together, since they technically all three still need one on one attention in the water. I'm glad Sam go so much one on one attention with just his teacher this summer.
We had quite a few adventures this summer. We rented a bay house on Mobile Bay with Chris's family. His sister and her kids came down from Virginia, along with the rest of his siblings from the Mobile area. The kids had a GREAT time swimming and catching crabs and fish. We will certainly try to do that again. While in Mobile, I helped Chris's family take some updated family photos. We also got to attend the 50th Anniversary celebration of Chris's Aunt and Uncle. Lots of good family time!
On the same trip, I took the kids over with my parents to Baton Rouge to welcome my brother John home. He has been in Afghanistan for10 months or so, and the welcome home ceremony was really sweet.
Not long after we returned from that trip, we all hopped on a plane to California. The plane rides were less painful with all three boys than I was anticipating, but still made me crave a Jack and Coke or 5. We got to spend time with my Grandmother at her mountain cabin, where she met Gabriel for the first time. My three kids are her three great grand kids so I'm sure it's very special to see them. The two big boys loved getting dirty in her gardens and visiting her little town's ice cream parlor (OK, Gabe liked it too). The loved the cabin's spiral staircase and loved sleeping in my uncle's camper trailer. We got to visit St. Andrew's Abbey, a family favorite. Also got to take the kids on a hike at Devil's Punchbowl (which was a serious mistake but something to laugh about after it was all over). Gabe got to touch the Pacific for the first time at Dog Beach in the Huntington Beach area. Sam and Luke got soaking wet in the Pacific themselves, and could have cared less that the water was freezing and the wind chill was near the 50s.
As a super special unexpected treat, we were gifted free tickets to DISNEYLAND by a friend of my Aunt and Uncle's. My parent's kept Gabe, and Chris and I took Sam and Luke to the park for the day. We got to the park the second it opened, and went straight to the Buzz Lightyear ride, which we walked on three times in a row. I'm pretty sure the boys would have been happy to just ride that the rest of the day. It was really special to be able to take them on some of the rides that I remember going on as a kid. And just as special to take Chris there, as he had never been to any Disney park. Luke even worked in a nap around lunch time, when he completely passed out in Chris's arms! My parent's picked up the boys late in the afternoon and Chris and I spent the rest of the night riding the bigger rides. All in all we had a super fun, laid back trip to California, and as usual it was bittersweet to leave.
The week we got home, I started back to work and the kids started back at daycare. I was ready for some routine in all our lives, and the boys adjusted surprisingly fast. Sam started Pre-K at St. Joseph's Catholic School this week. He is so so thrilled about every little detail of his new school and new friends. On the first day, he told me he talked to God. I asked him "Did you pray?" to which he responded, "Yeah! That's how you talk to God. He lived on the moon. THAT'S the REAL God." I do believe there was some kind of miscommunication there!! I can't believe how big he is getting.
The bad news is he IS getting big. Physically, he is clearly beginning to struggle with his oxygen levels, which decrease as he grows. We knew this was how it was supposed to happen, but at the same time there does seem to have been an obvious sudden decrease in his functional capacity just in the last two weeks. Could be the heat of the summer, could be some lagging issues related to higher altitudes he experienced in California (although he was not at all bothered by it then). It is difficult for him just to walk the little walk from the car to his Pre-K room. It is hard to walk to the cafeteria from his room, which is clear on the other side of the school. He doesn't seem to notice, but I do. He is breathing like I do when I go run. Two words, deep breath, two words, deep breath...and so on. Sitting, you would never know. But after walking 10 yards of so, it starts kicking in. We moved up his cardiology appointment to Thursday of this upcoming week. Assuming no unexpected change has occurred that might be causing this, we will likely begin planning for Sam's next surgery. I'm not ready. And at the same time I'm totally over having to watch him struggle to keep up walking just short distances. Bleh. Look for an update after his appointment Thursday.