As I mentioned, I've been trying to come up with a list of things to keep us occupied while Craig's gone. Like I said yesterday, I want to make sure that we do enough things to fill any void Jacob might be feeling, without spoiling him or doing too many things that we'd prefer to do with Craig. I just want to have a handful of fun things on the agenda to distract me from wishing I was in Prague, to break up the time, and give us something to look forward to. Here's what's on my list so far:
1) Go to the zoo - We have a membership and haven't been there yet this spring. We did go over the winter once, but the weather and our schedule just haven't meshed. They recently reopened their penguin exhibit and I'm looking forward to seeing that. Jacob wants to see the otters, among other things. If nothing else it always makes for a nice walk and a good excuse to be outside.
2) Go to the Lilac Festival - The weather is going to be horrible for most of the festival, which started last weekend and goes through Sunday. The weather is looking promising for the weekend, which is great, but it's probably going to be jammed since everyone's going to fit in their visit over two days instead of 10. Nevertheless, it only happens once a year and it's fun to check it out. The lilacs are right on time apparently, too...after being totally spent by the festival last year. But oh, how lovely the weather was prior to that.
3) Go to bed early - I am chronically tired. That may be the result of not going to bed early enough, or three years of iffy nights of sleep and very little sleeping in, or just general exhaustion and lack of enthusiasm for my daily routine. My main goal for the time that Craig is gone is to get in bed by 10 or 10:30 every single night. Without the need to catch up on TV or stay awake just to enjoy each other's company, I don't see any reason why I'd need to stay up too late. That said, I'm sure I'm going to find ways to fill my time and I will really need to push myself to go to bed early, but I think it will be a great experiment to see if it seems to make a big difference in how I feel on a daily basis. Will I wake up rested? Will I feel more alert at work? Will I have more patience and energy to deal with Jacob? Will I lose weight, since sleep has been tied to better metabolism, and therefore weight loss? I'm hoping I'm strict enough with myself to find out. At a minimum I will still need to try to go down a little early so I can drag myself out of bed a little early since I'll need a few extra minutes to do Craig's portion of Jacob's morning routine.
4) Try some new foods - Jacob's not the most enthusiastic eater, but I'm tempted to try to cook him some different things while Craig is gone, just to see if he'll eat them. Craig is not a fan of peppers, onions, or most vegetables, but if I can convince Jacob that certain things are good, it might open up some options for the times Jacob and I are eating alone. Right now I tend to go super-easy in cases like that--sandwiches, mac and cheese, and other easy-to-prepare items. But if I find out Jacob likes certain things, it'll be motivation to make that stuff instead when we're home alone. He likes mushrooms on his pizza, so it gives me hope that anything is possible.
5) Sort through Jacob's artwork - I have two giant bags full of all of Jacob's artwork from daycare. I just keep adding to it, and other than one attempt to sort through it before we moved, I haven't touched it. My plan is to lay it all out in groups of four or so and take pictures of everything. Really nice ones I might give an entire picture to. I'll keep anything that I really like or that seems significant. While a lot of it will probably get thrown away, and just a handful will be kept and stored, my ultimate plan is to buy four frames. I might just get cheap ones, but if I find some true treasures, I might splurge (a little) on shadow box-ish ones. I'll hang them up in the corner of our living room near Jacob's toys. I'll fill each frame with one of the pieces of art, and change them out periodically when a cool new piece comes home. I think it'll add a touch of whimsy to a bare corner, and make good use of all the art projects that Jacob does. But the sorting and photographing process is going to be a bear. I envision a lot of guilt as I toss stuff, but it might be pretty cleansing, as well.
6) Have a picnic - Jacob mentioned something about a picnic the other day on the way home from daycare, and it sounded like a great idea. The weather is supposed to improve, so I think it would be lovely to spread a blanket and eat a low-maintenance dinner outside on it. He also mentioned chalk, so it might be a good time to break out the chalk we have sitting in our garage. It could be fun!
7) Run a race - Yes, the Chase Corporate Challenge is next Tuesday. I ran it two years ago and miraculously did the whole thing despite never having run any significant distance before. I think it must have been adrenaline and distraction (thanks to the pouring rain), though I certainly felt the effects in the days that followed. I didn't get to do it last year, but I have been gearing up for it for weeks now. I can run three miles without much trouble, though admittedly, I'm not fast nor have I been making speed a priority. But I still hope to finish the race quicker and with less difficulty than I did a couple years ago. Lori's going to have to watch Jacob and I'm still trying to figure out if it's possible to pick him up and get them settled and still make it to the race on time, but I desperately want to run it. Of course, it's looking like rain again, but I've survived worse and the temperature looks tolerable, so I'm getting excited. It's fun to feel like a real runner this time around. I actually know where my starting point should be (based on pacing)--I now know I can run a 10 minute mile.
8) Play with markers - Jacob got this black & white sports themed mat for Christmas. It's meant to be colored, but I haven't had the guts to let him do it yet. He has enough fun carrying it around and throwing it down somewhere. But at one point I got him a set of markers so he could color on it (it washes out in the washing machine, though that scares me a little!), but for some reason I didn't give them to him for Valentine's Day like I originally planned, and then I forgot to put the markers in his Easter basket. They're cute little washable Crayolas, but I think we'll still put down some newspaper and do it in a relatively safe spot. I think he'd get a kick out of it.
9) Give him a "high hoop" - Jacob is obsessed with the big basketball hoops he sees around every neighborhood we drive through. He points them out all the time, knows where they are, and which ones don't have nets hanging from them. He has his own little basketball hoop that he got for his birthday last year. It's set on the second lowest height and he does really well with it. The hoop lived in the garage last summer, but we brought it in over the winter. It's just about time to bring it back out, and I've promised Jacob that we could raise it up to the highest setting outside, just so he can have a high hoop, too. I think he'll lose interest quick when he can't reach it, but it might be fun for a bit.
10) Any other big boy things that happen to happen - I certainly don't want to tackle potty training or the big boy bed by myself, but if Jacob shows increased interest, we will work on those too. I may try to get a bedrail over the weekend (the hand-me-down we got isn't good for toddler beds), but I'm not sure we'll get it in time to work on it this weekend. I'm not sure I can tackle it alone during the week, but then again, if I'm going to bed early, maybe I can! Lord knows I can barely lift Jacob into his crib these days.
Craig leaves for Hamilton tomorrow and Prague on Friday. He's leaving at an odd time because the big news around here this week is that the Sabres are trying to buy the Amerks. It would be great for the city, the team, and the fans, but the jury's still out on what it means for Craig's job. He could get hired by the Sabres to work for the Amerks, or he could work exclusively for the Knighthawks (who would still be owned by the current ownership group). Things seem to be happening quickly and it's not ideal for him to be out of town when it all goes down, but he's got a lot invested in this trip already and it's the chance of a lifetime, so hopefully things stretch out long enough to wait for his return. He's worked with enough of the Sabres folks, so at least they know him and what he's capable of. It should be interesting. I think we'll have a lot of "interesting" around here for the next 10 days, as a matter of fact. Stay tuned...
I know there's probably more, but that's a good start, I think. Hopefully time will go quickly and