A Magical Summer

If you do not like pictures, you should probably skip this entire post.  Last summer, the Summer of 2016, was pretty great. We had our first family vacation in three years and Zack felt mostly well.  I was afraid to hope for another, but guess what?  The Summer of 2017 was a completely ordinary, normal, wonderful summer filled with new things and a few great trips to the beach.  That, my friends, deserves some documentation.  Proof that it actually happened, and pictures that we can look back on for years to come.  Of course, I realize I might be getting a little greedy actually expecting good things to happen around here…but I am good with that.

Before I share with you all of the fun thing we did this summer, here is Zack’s medical update.  He is the same.  Zack is still prolapsing a few times a month, his stoma is still swelling a lot, he still has times of constricted output, he is still craving salt, still not gaining weight (although he IS getting taller) and still having pain.  Zack’s GI doctor said this will probably be our new normal and, while not ideal, seems to be how things will be from here on out. Fingers crossed.  If you have been around us at all these past four years, you know that this is a vast improvement from the way things used to be.

Back to our summer.  This was the first summer that Zack did not have Summer School, at least not officially.  Zack and I spent a LOT of time reading, working on math and working on writing on his school computer.  Can you see the enthusiasm on his cute face?  At least we were outside on the deck?  Getting fresh air?  In the sun?

Zack also spent a lot of time in the pool this summer.  He took swimming lessons all summer and was very determined to finally learn how to swim.  By the end of August, Zack was able to jump off the diving board alone, swim under water like a fish, float a little on his back and tread water for a few seconds.  The one skill that just keeps eluding him is breathing while swimming.  It’s kind of a big deal in terms of independent swimming and being safe in the water….but… if he is in water that he can stand in, he is a fish.  He made great strides this summer and I have no doubt he will continue to progress.

In addition to school work and swimming, Zack spent time improving his tennis game.  His coach, Mr. Brecker, is an amazing teacher.  A bonus for us is that he used to be an Adaptive PE teacher.  He loves kids and is able to bring out the best in each player.  Last summer, Zack’s goal was to finally make contact with the ball.  This summer his goal was to learn to serve the ball. By the end of the summer, he was actually able to make contact when he served.  So what if it did not make it over the net? This was an amazing feat.  Being able to coordinate his body well enough to throw the ball up in the air, get his racket ready to hit the ball and then actually follow through took months of hard work.  I do not know who was more excited to see this finally come together — Mr. Brecker, Zack or me.  I do know we were all pretty darn proud of our blonde headed boy.  As luck would have it, we captured a serve on a video just for you..it’s only 5 seconds long.

Another exciting first for Zack was visiting an actual police station.  Our neighbor, Travis Turner, is a police officer with the Howard County Police.  Zachary loves his police car, and Travis always takes time to talk to Zack about it when we walk by his house.  This summer, Travis invited Zack to come to his station for a tour.  This was not a little quick tour.  Zack got to learn about many different parts of the station.  Some of the things he saw included the Chief’s office; poked his head in the evidence room; saw how evidence was cataloged after hours; saw the gym; visited the crime lab and saw how fingerprints were taken, blood was identified on objects, how writing samples were analyzed and other fascinating CSI type things. Zack was also able to see some of the holding cells for both adult and juvenile offenders and decided that they were not very nice places.

I think Zack’s favorite thing of all was having Mr. Turner show him the police vehicles.  Zack was able to sit inside one, look at all of the controls in the car and have them explained to him, turn on the lights, turn on the different sirens and look in the trunk.  I think he was living out one of his dreams.  The Howard County Police were also very generous in giving Zack a backpack full of fun souvenirs to help remember this special day.  I know he will remember their kindness for a long time to come.

Zack and Mr. Turner

Zack’s dream come true!

Zack’s big brother, Drew, was home for a bit after hiking half of the Appalachian Trail.  We were able to go on a little vacation to Ocean City, Maryland where Drew buried Zack in the sand.  A huge deal for a kid who will not even walk barefoot on the beach.  We also played putt-putt golf, made sand castles, walked the boardwalk, and swam in the ocean.  We love the ocean!

Zack and Drew

Having a rocket scientist in the family made the Solar Eclipse very exciting for Zack.  Drew was able to explain what was happening to him in a way he understood and got him interested in our neighborhood eclipse watching party.  This is one of my favorite pictures of the day.

As if that was not enough fun for one summer, Zack also played in the rain, played kickball with the neighborhood kids, had lots of cousin time and just enjoyed life.  What more could a kid want (or a parent for that matter)?

Rain Fun at Ronnie’s!

Kickball popsicle break!

Cousin McCain came to visit.

Obligatory cousin photo.

And there you have it.  A full summer indeed.  School started a few weeks ago, but that is a topic for another day.  I’ll leave you with Zack’s first day of school photo.

I’m not an organized enough mom to have a sign stating what grade he is entering or to post on Facebook the first day of school, so this picture three weeks later will have to do.  Zack has several different doctor visits happening soon and I will post again after that.  Until then!

Hug your babies!

~ Dawn

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