Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting there...

Well, I finally booked the rest of our hotel rooms for our trip, so I guess we're in decent shape.  We haven't done a long vacation in a long time (since our Florida trip before Jacob was born), and that was such a cheap-o vacation considering we had free accomodations courtesy of a prize from a golf tournament.  We still had to fly there, rent a card, and buy Disney tickets and food, but all things considered, it was cheap for such a pleasant (and well-timed) vacation.  This time around, the hotel costs for five nights away are a bit of a bummer.  But I did them as cost-effectively as I could, and I think they'll be good.  I did take a slight chance and book one room with a king bed and a pullout couch, hoping that the pullout couch would be about equal in comfort to Jacob's crib mattress.  It's our Philly room, and it was the least scary hotel I could find in our price range that is convenient to anything we're doing.  It's near the baseball stadium, which means we can park there for free (big savings, I'd assume) and walk to the game.  While I'm normally the one who books any sort of free hotel breakfast I can, we'll only have one at our Atlantic City hotel.  Our first night will be spent in Allentown, and I decided that good reviews and a super comfy bed (Sleep Number!) trumped free breakfast over a similarly priced hotel with free breakfast and some iffy cleanliness reviews.  We'll see how it all pans out.  If nothing else, we can introduce Jacob to fast free breakfasts...yum.  I do think all three have free internet, so that's helpful for killing evenings after Jacob's asleep...assuming that ever happens.  We're definitely going to have to get creative on that one, since activity is a detriment to sleep.  That was a huge issue last year in Pittsburgh, so I'm not sure what the plan is this time.  Well-placed car rides?  Perhaps I'll just assume we'll have issues, plan to go to bed early with him, and be pleasantly surprised if we get to stay up late.  If nothing else, maybe that means we'll get a lot of sleep and yet won't need to waste the day sleeping in!

The plan is to go to a minor league baseball game in Allentown on Saturday, go to the Phillies game on Sunday afternoon, explore the city a bit in the evening, do the zoo Monday morning, more exploring later in the day, leave for Atlantic City Tuesday morning, spend Tuesday and Wednesday at one shore locale or another--Atlantic City one day, Ocean City another.  There might be an aquarium visit in there somewhere, along with a good dose of beach and boardwalk time. Thursday morning we'll visit our friends (Jacob's buddy Colin and his NEW baby sister--ahhh, baby fix!) before heading home for the long drive.  The big bummer is that the Baseball Hall of Fame was originally in our plans but had to be scrapped because it's a full two hours of extra travel and just seemed to make for an untolerably extra long trip.  We'll make it there eventually for sure, but just not this trip.  It'll make for a full week, but I think the beach time is key to having a low-key trip.  I hope.

While I'm concerned about the long drives, my biggest fear is that Jacob will find ways to spoil everything.  We had that problem last year in Pittsburgh, too, and while I see so many differences in Jacob in recent months, his behavior is unfortunately that much different than last year.  In some ways I suppose it's better (in between tantrums) and in some ways it's worse (the tantrums are ridiculous).  I hate to put in all this effort only to have him not want to participate and end up complaining about how he just wants to come home and play baseball or lacrosse.  He's three, so I know that's a possibility, but I still  hope that he'll be so wowed by some of the stuff we're doing that he won't even think that much about sports while we're gone.  It will always be there, of course, but it won't be the only thing.  I can hope.  

I'm excited, but I still have so much to do.  I need to do laundry tomorrow night (primarily to have enough socks and underwear to get Jacob through the week), and I haven't packed a single thing for myself.  I printed off all of our hotel stuff tonight, as well as my travel checklist (which needs many additions for a trip like this), and I bought some snacks and drinks to bring with us.  It's a start.  And tomorrow is Jacob's daycare carnival, so it's going to be yet another busy night.  Yikes!  Oh, the things we do just to "relax"...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Things I've Been Wondering About

- Why I have been so hesitant and crazy about booking things for our vacation - It starts this weekend and yet I only booked one room and bought our baseball tickets last night.  We still don't have a hotel for the first part of the trip.  Not sure if I'm just scared of spending money, or worried something will go wrong, or what.  Nothing has quite worked out exactly like we'd hoped in this planning process, so maybe that makes me leery of diving right in. 
- How Jacob will do on the long drive - We haven't done a long drive with him since he was an infant.  He's used to the 1-2 hour trips we've taken to Buffalo and Syracuse, but our 3-4 hour Pittsburgh trips haven't been my favorite experiences.  5+ hours hasn't been tackled since he was a couple months old.  The DVD player will work wonders, I'm sure, and we're going to do our darndest to break up the drive.  Hopefully we'll get a decent nap or two, too.  I keep reading about how buying little dollar store "prizes" can keep things interesting, but the only things Jacob tends to want at the dollar store aren't exactly car-friendly.  To be honest, I'm not even sure how I'll do on the long drive, since this is the longest trip I've taken in a long time and I'm already paranoid about how this trip is going to go...let alone having 5+ hours to think about it.

- When we will consider Jacob pottytrained - He's getting there, but it appears we still have a long road to go.  He made it through all of last week without an accident at daycare, then had one yesterday.  He had another mini-one last night, made worse by the fact that he wasn't, ummm, pointing down when he sat on the potty to get rid of the rest of it.  If we stay on top of things, he has much better success, but the point is really for HIM to stay on top of things, not us.  He does tell us a lot that he has to go, though, and most of the time he catches himself before an accident becomes epic.  I don't anticipate him being nap or night trained for a long time, since he's rarely anything resembling dry when he gets up.  I'm not worried about that, but at the same time--at what point is he trained enough to deserve his potty prize, a lacrosse net?

- Where my happy little on-time cycle went - TMI Alert - Looks like we have a redo of last time around, where I'm just sitting here waiting for my cycle to get on track enough to even begin tracking days or strategizing.  Pre-birth control my cycle was pretty close to 28 days, maybe off by a day or two at any given time.  I guess it got out of practice after all these years of being regulated.  Of course, as a result, now I'm getting into the crazies, where I'm 99% sure I couldn't be pregnant (side note: We are not trying yet), but every little body oddity makes me want to pull out one of those dollar store pregnancy tests and double check.  Of course, eventually I gave up on that last time around because it got rather demoralizing...and then I spent two weeks wondering why I felt like crap until a last-ditch check before calling the doctor confirmed that I had the best reason to feel like crap.  So, I don't trust my body one bit because you just never know.  Unfortunately, it means that I'll probably be tortured by my cycle one way or another for our vacation.  Ugh.  Even worse, I don't know if I'll get any warning, since I've had very little experience with unregulated cycles in the last, oh, decade or so.  Will I still get crazy cramps?  Or will I just stand up from my chair and find an embarrassing situation on the back of my pants?  Awesome.  In a related development, I've never been hoping for a bout of cramps so much in my life.

- Why Jacob feels the need to make noise every waking moment - Did you see the study a few weeks back that showed that whining children was the most annoying noise ever?  I tend to believe it, because Jacob's whining grates on my nerves like little else.  When he's not whining, he's yelling, singing or talking incessantly.  Seriously, the kid rambles on and on about Lord-knows-what, all the time.  Sometimes he's pulling from experience, sometimes from his imagination, and yes, most of the time it has something to do with sports.  We do get tidbits from daycare and random things about poop and food, but sports is usually the topic.  But a lot of it isn't really clear or doesn't make sense.  It's amazing to watch his mind work, but I can tell that the incessant noise is making me a little nuts.  He also won't sit still, and the combination of the two is brutal.  But no matter how we try, he still has  a very hard time listening long enough to sit still or be quiet.  I gained a little hope the other day when a blogger I read wrote that she and her son went to an event two years in a row, and as a three year old he ran her ragged, but this year he seemed to be better about sitting down, having a drink, and relaxing.  So maybe there's a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Why Jacob constantly puts clothing on backwards, no matter how many times we show him the correct way - I'm not sure if he's just screwing with us or what, but seriously...every single night when Jacob is putting on his pajamas, he puts on the pants backwards.  No matter how many times we explain that the tag goes in the back (on the floor, etc.), to lay them out, to pay attention to which leg is going where, he constantly gets them on backwards, or sticks his legs in the wrong holes, or both in the same hole.  Same problem goes for shoes, too.  They're always on the wrong feet.  You'd think he'd notice and fix them, but no.

I'm sure the wondering will continue the rest of the week as we get ready for our vacation.  I have a million things running through my head--from the lunch I need to pack for Jacob's field trip tomorrow, to the obscene amount of work I need to do (and should get in early for), how I haven't really packed anything and need to make a list of things that I need to wash before we go, all of the random things I need to remember like turning off our water (the hot water heater is making me nervous), upping and holding the thermostat, packing beach toys, buying a baby gift for friends we hope to visit, etc.  It's all very exciting, of course, but a full, crazy workweek is making it extra complicated.  Stay tuned...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Soccer!

Before Jacob was born I'm pretty sure I made the declaration that I would never let my kid play soccer.  I think I'd seen one too many kiddie soccer exhibitions at Rhinos games and knew that a bunch of kids chasing after a ball was not something I felt like watching a few times a week.  Well...that was before I had a child that can kick a soccer ball probably just as well as I can...at the ripe old age of three.  I never did see the ad in the paper this year for the three-year-old soccer signups, so we managed to avoid it this year.  However, next year we may have to look into it because Jacob's pretty good with a soccer ball.  He's also quite good at tee ball, too, so we'll have to see if the seasons overlap.  In the meantime, we have to make do watching these sports and letting Jacob refine his skills somewhere between our living room and our front yard.

Wednesday we had the opportunity to go see a Women's Professional Soccer game between the Western New York Flash and magicJack (based in Boca Raton, FL).  A few weeks ago this wouldn't have been a big deal, but following the Women's World Cup, it was a huge deal.  The Western New York Flash (technically based in Buffalo and owned by the head of Sahlen's (yes, the hot dog people) but playing games here in Rochester) includes players like Marta from Brazil, Alex Morgan from the US, and a handful of other talented international players.  MagicJack has US superstar Abby Wambach (a Rochester native), US goalie Hope Solo, and a few other key US players.  MagicJack's visits to Rochester are a big deal simply because of Abby, but this one went above and beyond.  It ended up being a sellout crowd of over 15,000, a league and stadium record.  Most of the top names, including Abby, didn't play, but she was there and so were a few others.  Marta and Alex Morgan both played, which was a treat.  It was really just a pleasure being there for all the hoopla. 

It didn't hurt that our friend who works for the Rhinos and the stadium set us up with amazing seats ON the field.  We were literally about eight feet from the field signs.  Insane.  Did I mention it was about 90 degrees when we got there?  We had to wait in a long line just to get into the stadium, and it was pretty brutal.  Lori came with us, and between the three of us we exerted a lot of sweat just trying to wrangle Jacob from the time we got there until we were comfortably in our seats.  The sweating continued for a while, and Jacob still never stopped moving, but at least we could sit!  Here are a few pics from the evening...

Jacob during the anthem...how cute is he holding his USA hat?

As if a goalie stance in both hockey and lacrosse wasn't enough, now we have a soccer goalie stance.

Just thought he looked cute here.  He stood pretty much in that spot most of the game, just kicking his soccer ball to us.  We had to prevent him from doing drop kicks or headers for fear his little ball would end up over the field sign and on the real field.  Yikes!  At least he had room to move, though that ended up meaning he hardly watched any of the game.

Another failed attempt at a picture with a cute smile.  Still ended up pretty cute anyway...

Abby!  She explained at halftime why she wasn't playing that night.  She did get the key to the city, among other honors.
Despite the heat earlier in the day, it ended up being a beautiful evening--no jackets needed.  Oh, and the sunset over the stadium was pretty fantastic, too.

With Lori there it was a perfect opportunity to get a good family shot.  Jacob didn't cooperate (as usual), but not too bad overall.
All in all it was a fun night.  Jacob stayed dry (woohoo!) and although he was up late (we got stuck in traffic for quite a while on the way home), he went down pretty easily and slept well.  The view we had from our seats was pretty impressive, and it was nice that Jacob could play while we sat.  The women were quite talented and we saw some great goals.  But to see the excitement of so many fans, so many young girls, and just the city in general, that was really the highlight.  And it was fun to read about it from national news sources yesterday as well!  A good time was had by all.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Another weekend...another review :)

We had a pretty good weekend.  Craig had to work in Hamilton on Saturday night and we had a family party on Sunday, so we headed to Buffalo on Saturday at naptime.  Jacob took a very abbreviated nap in the car on the way to my parents', which didn't bode well.  He's functional after a short nap, but inevitably it doesn't do great things for him later in the day.  It usually disintegrates into a series of whining and frantic behavior that drives me absolutely nuts.  However, despite some moments of that, it actually went pretty well. 

After Craig dropped us off and left for Hamilton, we went to the putting green at my parents' golf course.  Jacob got to take the clubs he got for Christmas, and elicited a few smirks from the handful of golfers near the clubhouse who saw him carrying them (backpack-style).  They are really cute...and so is this guy:
We putted for quite a while in sweltering heat, leaving us all quite sweaty.  We did some putting contests among the adults and did our best to coach Jacob on his form.  We weren't particularly successful, but heck, the kid is three.  He got some hands-on help from Grandpa...
And then got to check out a golf cart with Grandma...
No, he didn't actually drive, but my mom did turn it on and let them roll a bit!
We went out to dinner, where Jacob ate pretty well and was excited to go see the games in a side room at the restaurant.  Bubble hockey draws that kid in like little else!  After that we went to visit my grandma for a bit, and then we headed home for some outside playtime.  It was still ridiculously hot but Jacob played until bedtime, mostly playing catch and then trying out the frisbee. 
The recurring theme of the day was potty training, as Jacob was in big boy undies once we got to my parents' house.  He did pretty well, though he had one little accident shortly before we left for the golf course.  His plastic pants contained it, and he held most of it until we got to the potty, so I guess I consider that a "good" accident.  I think if he keeps having ones like that he will learn pretty quickly how to hold it.  Right now I use the term "hold" and he physically "holds" himself, so we're still working on that concept of how to keep it inside until we get to a potty.  Still, considering all we did that day, he did quite well.

Sunday we got up and went to church, then headed to Old Navy so I could use my Groupon ($20 for $10) while my parents were at their Sunday School class.  I got a very comfy skirt and a pair of socks for Jacob, and tolerated Jacob's usual late Sunday morning antics--I don't know what it is about church, but he usually gets crazy for a bit and then dozes off the second he's put in a car.  We made a pit stop on the way home to see all of the boats docked on the canal for the annual Canal Fest (the big thing in the Tonawandas each summer), sweltering as we walked along the canal.  He slept for a little while on the way home but woke up when we got in the house, as usual.  So much for that nap.  Shortly thereafter we were off to see Craig's family for our nephew's birthday party, and Jacob did sleep for a bit on the way there.  However, for the second day in a row, napping was not really on the agenda.  Jacob loves digging through his cousins' many toys (three boys' worth!) and finding various things that either are sports-related or that he thinks are sports-related.  He was actually hoping that cousin Maddy, who's a catcher in softball, might have a catcher's mask he could wear, but no luck.  He settled for the usual batch of Power Rangers masks, and kept himself occupied with various sporting endeavors all day.  Here he is when we were getting ready to sing.  Notice the blue mask in his hand...

Despite our best efforts during the day to convince him to join the other kids out in the inflatable slip-n-slide outside, he refused...until we went outside to say goodbye to everyone, at which point he decided he wanted to do it.  Ugh.  By then it was getting late and we just couldn't stay that long, so we'll chalk that one up to another example of why Jacob needs to listen to us when we ask him to do something.  He's having trouble grasping the concept that some things are only available for a certain period of time, and if you don't act upon them, you lose the chance.  One of these days he'll learn.

He fell asleep just a few minutes into the ride and slept the whole way home.  He woke up briefly when we got home, but Craig cuddled him on the couch for a bit, and it was enough to get him sufficiently sleepy enough to put on his pajamas and get him up to bed without a real wakeup.  And he slept through the night.  Perfect.

On a side note, potty training was moderately successful on Sunday.  He did great all morning through church and shopping, and even did fine on the car ride.  He finally had a mini-accident (one that merited a pants change) later in the afternoon, and almost had one a little after that (a couple drops escaped), but nothing tragic.  I actually don't mind these kinds of accidents (for now) because I keep hoping they'll teach him all of the sensations he needs to learn in order to be fully trained.  The last couple days we've sent him to daycare in underwear (and the trusty plastic pants), and yesterday went well.  He did have a bit of an accident when he and Craig went to a baseball game last night (I was running around preparing for my boss's bridal shower tomorrow), but again, it was nothing tragic.  We'll see what the daycare report is today, and he'll get another test tonight when we go see the local women's pro soccer team play.  Both teams that are playing feature a bunch of the women from the World Cup run, including hometown girl (but tonight's opponent), Abby Wambach.  Marta, the top player for Brazil (maybe in the world!), and US player Alex Morgan, both play for the Western New York Flash.  It's sold out (unheard of in this league!), so it'll be quite the event. 

Anyway, I've decided that consistency is the one thing we're lacking with this whole potty training thing, so I'm doing my best to keep Jacob in underwear most of the time.  I may be crazy to even bother since we're a couple weeks out from a vacation involving long car trips and lots of activities (assuming I ever plan it), but it's worth a shot.  We just have to plan well, be patient, look for every public restroom we can, and be prepared for public embarrassment.  And yes, we'll probably rely on pull-ups in the car.  We do have a travel-friendly potty, but I'm not sure potty training is worth risking our lives on the side of the highway.  I questioned it for a while, but I do have hope now that he'll be potty trained before he goes to Kindergarten. 

We're getting there...

Monday, July 18, 2011

And so it begins...

Remember how I blogged about not being sure which details to share or not to share as we go through the process of having another baby?  Well, here's one that may be TMI, but it'll give you some insight into how crazy this process is, from start to finish. 
I'm off birth control but we're not trying yet.  We're still a bit off from our ideal timing, for one, and second, they recommend giving your body some time to flush out the birth control hormones and get back on track naturally.  As you may recall, last time that was a bit of a process.  My first post-pill cycle went a week longer than usual, and then I went more than two months without a period and didn't even know when I finally ovulated.  Well, today should have marked the beginning of my first post-pill period, and so far, no sign...not even a single warning cramp.  That's not a big deal, obviously, because most cycles aren't perfect.  Having been on the pill for years (started on it long ago for cramp control), I'm not used to waiting even an extra day or two, so this is going to be a bit of an adjustment.  But knowing how things went last time, even one day is making me nervous that we're in for a long process once again.  It was hard last time, and I'm nervous about going through that again this time.  I never got to blog about the torture of negative pregnancy tests and not knowing what was happening, so maybe you'll be treated to that this time around.  Bet you can't wait.  Ha!

Long story short, while I'm not worrying yet, it just brought back to mind all the agonizing we went through last time, from August through November, finally ending (or at least changing significantly) the moment we found out I was pregnant.  But for those four months, we had no idea what was going on and it was really, really hard.  And yet, we were the lucky ones because it all worked out perfectly...and it happened quickly compared to what so many people go through.  It's just amazing how quickly the doubt creeps back in. 

We'll get there and things will work out eventually, but it's definitely interesting to be getting back to that place and that mindset.  It's the first baby step of a very long journey...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cue the Go-Go's...

Seriously, all that's run through my mind for the past couple weeks is the chorus from the Go-Go's song, "Vacation": "Vacation, All I ever wanted, Vacation, Had to get away" because I really do have to get away.  It's a little of everything, I think.  It's being crazy at work, not wanting to get out of bed in the morning, Jacob's tantrums, a general inability to choose what to cook for dinner, the lure of the summer weather, and a desire to get out and see things.  I feel like a little time away will do me a lot of good, and we've even worked it out that we should have some home time to come back and recover from what promises to be a crazy road trip.

It's been hard enough just finding time to do it this summer.  We held off for a while because of the uncertainty surrounding Craig's job.  By the time that was settling down, all of the weeks we had pinpointed didn't work, for various reasons.  We ended up tweaking the schedule just enough that we met all of the criteria for time, activities, etc.  The plan right now is to drive to Cooperstown on a Saturday, do the Baseball Hall of Fame, drive the rest of the way to Philly, go to a baseball game on Sunday afternoon, do the zoo Monday, and fit in some less structured walking time and hopefully visit some friends one of those days as well.  Tuesday we'll head to the Jersey Shore and do the beach thing for a couple days before heading home on Thursday.  I'd like to get home at a reasonable time, though I do think we'll need to build in a stop or two along the way so the long drive isn't intolerable--for any of us.  We have friends to visit along the way, maybe a quick stop in Hershey, or anything else that just happens to look interesting. 

Part of me is dreading it, because I am terrified of packing up enough stuff for that long.  The car will inevitably be jammed, which isn't ideal since it leaves us extra vulnerable to thieves on the days we're not checked into hotels.  Usually it's bad enough when we're gone for a weekend, let alone many days with a variety of destinations and activities planned.  We're definitely going to have to get creative and pack efficiently.  Despite my fears, I feel like I need to just dive in and figure out if we can do this.  Traveling for that many days by car with a child is something we haven't really done yet.  And I'm not even getting into my fears about how to travel via airplane yet, though some day we'll have to figure that one out, and it will probably happen with two kids instead of just one.  Ugh.  But if we make it through all of this safe and sane, that will give me a boost of confidence for next time...which, plane or not, may include that second child (nothing to announce, I swear).  Add into it that Jacob has been less than cooperative lately, that we're in the midst of potty training, and he gets that much worse when he's sleep deprived, and I'm just a tiny bit panicked that this lovely trip will end up not-so-lovely.

On the other hand, the thought of getting away, exposing Jacob to new experiences, and getting some time to just chill in lazy seaside towns sounds lovely.  I've been covetous of the many vacation photos I see pop up on Facebook, and I'd like to have some fun experiences of our own.  I know how much I cherish the photos from all of the vacations we've taken, and it's exciting to add some new stuff to that.  Some of the things we're planning are things I have done before.  However, it's been nine years (how is that even possible?) and that was before digital cameras so I have no doubt that the photo experience will be different.  And, of course, this time I'm going with my husband and son, whereas last time I went with my two best friends.  That trip was outstanding, but I am eager to make some new memories in those places that I can recall a little more readily from day-to-day, given the proximity of my travel partners.  I'd like to add a new, more recent set of memories to the good memories I already have.  I'm sure Philadelphia will be fun and we're actually doing mostly different stuff than I did last time.  Craig and I haven't been to Cooperstown in quite a few years, and look forward to sharing it with Jacob.  But really, I can't wait for the Jersey Shore.  I went to Ocean City nine years ago and fell in love with it.  Here's what I'm looking forward to:   
Here's me and my friend Mary...with the dunes and ocean as our backdrop.  So pretty.

This is the boardwalk.  The old picture (and subsequent scanning) doesn't do it justice, but it was the most pleasant place.  Rides, custard, taffy, salty air...what could be better?
We'll actually probably stay in Atlantic City because it's far cheaper, but I'd like to check out boardwalks along the coast, from Atlantic City to Ocean City, and maybe Wildwood if we have the time.  They're full of tourist traps, but it's just such a nice feeling to have nothing to do but walk the boardwalk or sit on the beach.  Nothing sounds better right now. 

I just keep hoping Jacob will be cooperative.  Hopefully we'll have a great time and get in a little relaxation on the side.  It should be fun but it can't come soon enough.  Well, except for the fact that I'm already wishing away this summer one workweek at a time, and this will only make it worse.  But I can't wait. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Had to share...

One of my favorite bloggers posted something really funny today, and in lieu of a normal post, I had to share...so here it is, a post from Mighty Maggie, courtesy of parenting.com...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Randoms...

- I realized on Sunday while looking at the ads packed with college "necessities" (ha!) that this summer marks the halfway point between when I went to college for the first time and when Jacob will go to college for the first time.  Fifteen years ago I graduated from high school and went off to my freshman year at Geneseo.  Since Jacob turned three this summer, it would appear that in 15 years he'll turn 18 and be off to college.  That is CRAZY.  I know I've packed a lot into the last 15 years, but they've gone rather quickly and I can't believe the next 15 will go that fast (or faster!?) and my little boy will be all grown up. 

- Over the weekend one man died at a baseball game and another died on the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake.  The baseball guy was at a Texas Rangers baseball game and tried to catch a foul ball thrown to him by an outfielder.  He lost his balance and fell over a railing 20 feet, head-first into concrete.  His six-year-old son saw the whole thing.  The roller coaster guy was a veteran and, as a result, a double leg amputee.  He was thrown out of the coaster which has a lap restraint as its primary restraint mechanism.  They're saying now he probably shouldn't have been allowed on.  Still, it's scary.  And considering those two activities are among the leisure activities that Craig and I each enjoy most (of course, I like baseball...Craig does not like coasters), it definitely gives you pause when you consider doing those things with your child.  Freak accidents are rare, but they happen.

- I'm pretty sure Jacob is officially worse than a girl when it comes to his wardrobe.  He now wears numerous shirts, shorts, and socks every day.  He changes clothes to make him feel more like an athlete who plays his sport of choice--whatever it may be at any given moment.  He's got certain things that are more sports-related, like a basketball jersey and shorts, but he tends to put on his dark colored dress socks and pull them way up so they're like soccer socks.  I know it's the least of our worries, but it's driving me nuts.  Every time I walk into his room, there are clothes everywhere...clean stuff on the floor, dirty stuff in his drawers, unmatched socks, etc. Not to mention that potty accidents mean more clothing changes!  It's creating a lot of laundry.  I'm glad he's not one of those naked kids, but is it that hard to stay in one set of clothes? 

- I have a suspicion that we're tremendously lucky with Jacob's pooping abilities.  He's infamous at daycare for his ability to poop fast and poop big.  I've had teachers tell me multiple times that they didn't believe he was already done (he was), or that his poop was impressively large, or that it clogged up a toilet.  And YET...he rarely has problems getting it out.  Constipation has rarely been an issue for him, even when the size or consistency might make it seem otherwise.  It's impressive.  Not only that, but he's not afraid to poop on the potty.  He still does it in his diaper once in a while, but he's been really good about the potty lately and has never done it in underwear.  Thank goodness.  And now...cue the jinx. 

- Jacob loves both the US and Canadian anthems.  He asks us to sing them all the time, and even sings along sometimes.  Tonight Jacob and Craig were watching the MLB All-Star Game, and during the anthem Jacob stood there, mouthed the words, and rocked a bit on his feet, just like most athletes do.  He did the same rocking thing over the weekend when he asked Craig to sing the anthem first thing in the morning.  He is something else. 

- Jacob still hasn't been in the pool this summer.  He never wants to go in, and rather than battle him to get into his suit (I have NO doubt that it would be a battle--everything else is, so why not that?  He's already expressed his disinterest in it), we've found it easier to go in the pool when he's not around--mostly during his naps or in the evening when he's in bed.  Tonight I took my usual Tuesday night bike ride and came home in the midst of the bedtime routine, so I went out to the backyard and enjoyed a quick dip.  The water was warm and the evening was perfect.  One of these days we will get him in there, but I feel a little guilty that he isn't a fish.  We never took him to swim class and we haven't pushed the pool thing.  He will need to learn how to swim someday, because I don't like the thought of him living here with a pool in the backyard without the ability to swim.  Or maybe his complete disinterest isn't a bad thing...

Yawn...I'm off to bed.  Long day behind me and a short night ahead...as usual.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Weekend Miscellany

Ahhh, another weekend at home with no set plans...I could get used to this.  Alas, it looks like we have a few busy weekends ahead of us again, so hopefully we enjoyed it enough while it lasted!

Friday we were heading out to the Red Wings game, mostly because the Zooperstars were performing that night.  After how much he ended up enjoying them at the Amerks' game (and talked about them incessantly for weeks), we figured he'd like to see them at a baseball game, too.  They were also doing fireworks, which was nice since we didn't get to see any real fireworks (beyond what our neighbors were shooting off) for the 4th.  Before we left, Craig showed Jacob something that he would be raffling off the following night--a Major League Lacrosse helmet:

Of course Jacob loved it and didn't want to take it off, but the lure of baseball did the trick and we were off.  It was a beautiful night for a game, and we had a very nice time.  After a few innings and some dinner, we let Jacob take a few swings at the one inflatable.  It's like tee-ball, except the ball floats on air.  He had one very good hit. 
After he hit, we heard another Zooperstar come on the field, this time "Squidney Crosby" (hockey player at a baseball game?), who ate the bat boy and spit out his clothes (and the boy) one spit at a time.  For some reason this totally freaked Jacob out, and this is the concerned look on his face that resulted...
Later on, "Barack Ollama" (yep, they made the president into a llama) sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" from the press box about 10 rows above us.  "Harry Canary" (who did make the trip) used to sing it, but I guess the president gets precedence.  Barack finished it off with "Living in America" (a la Rocky IV) and showing off the star-spangled lining inside of his jacket.  Jacob was watching it all with a very close eye.
We're really not sure if he thinks they're going to come eat us, or what.  Poor kid.  Anyway, the game was long and by the time the fireworks started, Jacob was fading.  How a kid falls asleep during fireworks, I'm not sure.  They weren't particularly loud or fancy, but still.  Overall it was a pretty good night.  He wanted to play a lot, but we managed to find a good balance between watching and playing.  Still, it was a late night and he didn't sleep in too much to compensate!

Saturday morning was pretty lazy.  I was feeling a little better from the nasty cold I picked up last week, but I ended up lounging on the couch for quite a while because one of my all-time favorite movies, Parenthood, was on, and I couldn't pull myself away from it!  Definitely interesting to watch now that I am a parent!  We were planning on seeing my parents at some point Saturday, as they were in town to see their friends and go to the Corn Hill Arts Festival.  We were originally hoping to meet them there, but in the end nap time overlapped it and it just made more sense to stay home until they came to our house afterward.  But from the time Jacob went down for his nap, I was a cleaning/organizing machine.  It all started with the collapse of the little wardrobe I had in the basement holding my off-season clothes.  It got a little bent when something fell against it at our old house, and though it had been tipping ever since, it took until the other day for it to actually fall.  I bought a new one but was pondering changing up the setup of the two shelves and the wardrobe that comprised the only tall storage we have in the basement.  In the end everything stayed in place, except for the one shelf which I decided would be better used in the garage.  So...I had to reorganize what had been messily stored on two shelves into one.  I assembled the wardobe, moved my clothes in, vacuumed the dust off the crawl space floor and the cobwebs from the rest of that area, and then started working in the garage.  My parents came in the middle of that and we had a nice rest/chat before heading off to dinner (minus Craig, who had a work thing, the one that involved raffling off the helmet).  When we got back, my parents played with Jacob and I finished up my organizing in the garage.  In the end, I ended up with an organized shelf full of stuff, including two previously discarded laundry baskets full of Jacob's balls and sports equipment; a better placement for my garbage bag on wheels (used for weeding and other yard cleanup); more space for Jacob's bigwheel, wagon and bubble mower; and just a generally more organized garage.  And with help from my dad, an out-of-commission backup trimmer was fixed, and a problematic assembly job (a cart that came with our lawn mower--I messed up one step of assembly and was stuck with a stripped screw) was ready to be put back on track.  Considering I'd been waiting over a year to do all of that stuff, it felt AMAZING to get it done.  Hence why I just relived it by posting it here.  Sorry if that was boring...but it was THE big victory of my weekend.

Sunday I knew we had to get up for church, as our attendance has been sketchy over the summer (lots of trips and one illness mainly to blame), and I was beat when the alarm clock went off.  Jacob slept in until about 9am (we had to leave at 9:30), yet we still managed to get there on time.  And we sat in church and he was a very good boy.  Thank goodness.  That may or may not have had something to do with the bribe of going on the church playground afterward, which we did.  He went on the thing below, and climbed around the main playset a bit.  He even went down a couple slides solo, which for our slide-phobic child was a big deal.   

The heat was intense, though, so we left pretty quickly, stopped at the bank and Wegmans, then headed home for lunch and nap.  Jacob's nap was terribly short.  However, during that time we still managed to watch the US Women win their World Cup game and hang out in the pool for bit.  When Jacob woke up, I was feeling inspired by the win and decided to give Jacob a little treat.  I brought out a gift he got for his last birthday, a full soccer uniform for Team USA (from last year's World Cup--Nike, of course), courtesy of Uncle John, Aunt Kristin, and Kate.  It was still a little big on him, but he loved it...especially the tall socks.
He gave us a little trouble with wanting to wear it outside or eat in it--not yet, as I'd like it to stay clean at least until it actually fits him--but he definitely liked it a lot.  I did introduce it as a special thing that would not become a staple in his clothing rotation, but we'll certainly pull it out here and there now when he's being good.  Doesn't stop him from asking for it constantly, though.

One of the highlights of the day, though, was sitting and snuggling with him for his post-nap snack.  He sat with me and watched the MLS game on TV (from Portland), and was such a sweet, lovely little boy for that whole time.  I even took a picture of us.  And he even smiled...even if I look pretty rough from being in the pool!

Although we had some nice moments over the weekend, there is still this prevailing issue of Jacob testing us at every turn, crying hysterically when he doesn't get his way, and fighting us over random stuff.  Oh, and he had two significant accidents in a row on Saturday.  The plastic pants contained most of it, but the one was bad enough that not even that could hold it.  Disappointing.  I just can't figure out what is causing the constant tantrums, or what's causing the accidents.  He knows he shouldn't pee in his pants, but he does anyway.  Not often, but once in a while and in a big way.  It makes a daycare underwear attempt a little too risky still.  Ugh.  I don't want to have to take vacation to train him, because I'd rather use it for real vacation, but I might be running out of options and time.  God knows the next couple weekends are not going to be ideal for potty training.  The tantrums are a whole other issue, one that probably has something to do with a lack of time at home with us, and probably just three-year-old independence exertion in general.  It's been pretty brutal but I'm trying to stay consistent and hope it passes sometime soon. 

All in all, it was a nice weekend with a few bumps in the road.  Another busy week is ahead...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Transitions

Have I mentioned that Jacob is desperately missing his old classroom?  He moved up to the three-year-old room last week, and ever since it's been a constant struggle to convince him he needs to stay there.  He asks for his old teachers and misses his friends.  He talks about how he doesn't want to go on the yellow playground (the bigger one outside at daycare--must only be for the threes and up).

In general, every morning we have the same batch of struggles.  He doesn't want to go to daycare.  And no, it's not a panicked "I hate it there" sort of thing.  I think he genuinely just wants more time at home to play with his toys and go outside to play sports.  I can't blame him one bit.  We don't want to go to work either, obviously, but we have to, which we explain to him nearly every day. 

Next up is that he wants to wear big boy underwear.  Other than his two major accidents and one little one over the weekend, he's been pretty good at staying dry.  I do try to remind him to go, but he does volunteer sometimes.  He does well in the evenings, and we've been using the plastic pants as a backup just in case.  However, those two accidents were biggies, and I can imagine that daycare wouldn't be too thrilled to have to clean up that mess on their carpet.  They have scheduled potty runs there, so perhaps he'd be fine, but it still worries me.  I have no major need to get Jacob night-and-nap trained right away--he'll get there eventually--but daytime trained would be outstanding.  And for the record--and yes, this may jinx us--he's never pooped in his underwear.  We did have a slightly awkward incident over the weekend where he pooped and tried to wipe himself, though.  Even I'm not that good at wiping him, so you can imagine how he did.  Oy.  But he wants the big boy underwear every day and puts up a fight if we try to put a pull-up on him.  I chalk it up to daycare's rules and try to convince him that he has to keep practicing and he'll get there eventually.  One of these days I may just send him with big boy undies, the plastic pants, one backup pair (he's already got pants there) and hope for the best.  I'd imagine being with the big kids is good motivation, so I don't really want to push him off for too much longer--gotta strike while the iron is hot! 

Our third battle is the classroom one.  He's constantly begging for "Miss Pammy's room", and who can blame him?  He visited the threes a few times, and suddenly he left behind all but one of his classmates (the girl he shares a birthday with came too) to go to a new room.  He'd already spent time in that room in the evenings, and it's a really cool room--new toys, a couple turtles, cool cubbies--and there's even a couple kids in there that were in his class a while back, before they moved up.  But he really misses his old room, his old teachers, and his friends.  It's a big switch.  We don't seem to get as much info about him on a daily basis (frustrating given the potty training situation, as the old daily sheets did provide potty use info), but we haven't gotten any negative reports so perhaps this has thrown him off enough that he is listening better and behaving better.  Perhaps shoe throwing is a thing of the past.  We can only hope. 

Being in a class with older kids is definitely a bit of a double-edged sword.  He's younger than the youngest kids by three months, and there are kids a full year older than him still in the room.  That's a BIG gap when you're three.  Jacob's a good talker, but I'd have to imagine his skills will be refined considerably in the next year.  In general, I'd have to think the kids are far more advanced cognitively and even physically.  And while it's good for him to see things like that so he knows what he should aim for, I do worry that the big kids won't want to hang with the little kid or that it'll all be a little above him for a bit.  And, of course, there's always the chance he'll learn some less-than-charming behavior from those older kids, too.  Being one of only a few kids in pull-ups can't be ideal either, but I still don't know if his accidents are mental (too busy playing, for example) or physical (bladder isn't ready).  He can do it at times, which makes me think it's mental, but it's hard to know for sure because he definitely knows he shouldn't do it. 

I guess it's sort of like the quandary when kids are born near the cutoff for school--hold your kid back so they're among the oldest, or send them young and hope they catch up quickly.  We don't have that choice in this scenario, of course, so we just have to make it work.  It's just hard when your kid struggles and they have every right to, but there's still not much that can be done.  He's seen his old teachers the last two mornings, and I told them both how much he misses them.  I also told him to ask his new teachers if he could visit his old friends.  I don't know if they'd say yes, but it's worth a shot.  I'm all for using this as a personal growth experience (notice I'm not demanding they send him back until his friends are ready), but still, the kid is three.  In his mind, his last classroom is probably all he remembers ever being in, so it's no wonder it's a big change for him.  But I still think he deserves a chance to ease in a bit, and anything that helps him transition sounds good to me. 

It's funny, but probably the biggest difference between this transition and previous ones is that this is probably the first one where he can really talk to us about it.  Before he could cry and act out, but this time we know what's bothering him and can do what can do help him through it.  Our little boy is definitely growing up, one step at a time.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Babies on the Brain...again.

Ok, I'm really starting to think that my feelings about having another baby are seriously impacted by my monthly cycle. I mean, yes, chances are we're going to have another baby one way or another, but my confidence in the whole process seems to ebb and flow right along with my hormones. One week it seems like the best thing ever and we need to get on it right away, and the next week it's like, eh, what's the rush? Usually the indifference tends to coincide with some sort of monumental Jacob meltdown or other sort of frustrating situation that makes me wonder how on earth we'll manage two.

When I'm not in baby mode, I think about the sleepless nights, projectile bodily fluids, the pure exhaustion of pregnancy and beyond, and obsession about everything from the baby's health to being caught in public with a diaper blowout. I remember the crippling fear of SIDS and the insane frustration of a screaming baby with no apparent cause. I wonder how on earth I'll push through the exhaustion to attend to two kids, when right now one three-year-old tires me out despite getting a full (albeit too short) night's sleep.

I do really want a girl this time and worry about disappointment if it doesn't happen. I'll obviously love my boys and enjoy their brotherly relationship immensely, but it's certainly something I think about. I worry about a breaking point mentally--when it all might get to be too much. I think about the blow it will be to our finances to handle two loads of daycare along with all the other baby essentials. I worry about the guilt of working and leaving behind not one, but two kids. I wonder about Jacob's adjustment period and how we'll prevent him from playing sports too close to his new sibling. Long story short, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

On the other hand, when I'm in baby mode, I remember the sweet little baby faces and noises and stretches, and how Jacob could sleep through anything on our schedule, regardless of the time or place, nestled comfortably in his car seat. I remember the tiny clothes and tiny fingers and toes, the simplicity of breastmilk as the only food option and the bliss of a child that didn't talk back. I think about how cute it would be to watch Jacob be a good big brother, and watch the kids interact as they get older. We're not learning everything from scratch this time, so hopefully we'll worry less and enjoy it more.
Despite all the tough stuff, I can't help but be excited by the prospect. But again, I know that for all its hard parts (aches, pains, swelling, hearburn, nausea, stress), pregnancy is this happy la-la land where you get all of the excitement and anticipation without the physical, mental and emotional toll that caring for a newborn entails. And, of course, there's that tiny detail about how it all ends. But even still, I look back fondly on a lot of elements of pregnancy...mostly feeling the baby move and kick, all of the excitement and preparations, the well-wishes, and just the general feeling that you've got this huge purpose in life, every second of every day, as your body cares for a helpless little human. Why that feeling wears off a bit once the baby arrives, I'm not sure, because God knows it only gets more intense and more important after the baby is born.

Looking ahead I do wonder how I should blog it this time around. Last time I didn't start blogging until we officially announced the pregnancy--we spread the word at Christmas and I started the blog a few days later--but this time I have a couple options:

1) I could be open and honest about every little step--our timeframe, each step toward it, problems we encounter, the positive test right when it happens--but that's obviously sharing a LOT and potentially getting everyone excited before it's "safe" (if that's ever the case) to be excited. I do fear a miscarriage. I'm getting a little older and you just never know what your body is going to do. It can leave some pretty hefty emotional scars and be such a letdown. Also, I have a pretty solid timeframe in my head, and a miscarriage obviously throws all that off.  Really, that's mostly for practical purposes of using the same maternity clothes and having the right season's clothes fit at the right time if we have another boy. Small issue, but you know...it all adds up.  While it's a bit of an emotional risk, I don't think honesty is such a bad thing.  Lots of people suffer with (and blog about) infertility struggles, including miscarriages.  If it's something someone is struggling with, there's no reason that it shouldn't be discussed...either as therapy for the writer or to help others know that they're not alone.  But it begs the question...if those are the worst things that could happen and I'm planning on talking about them here if they happen, then why not just start talking from the beginning?  After all, if I get pregnant right away and stay pregnant, why not maximize the celebration? :)

2) I could keep it all quiet again and surprise everyone once it's common knowledge.  Obviously that keeps it as a more private issue when it's at its most sensitive, and provides a prime opportunity for a BIG announcement.  However, I'm not sure how I'm going to keep from complaining about the exhaustion or nausea that will inevitably befall me for a few months before the cat is let out of the bag.  Whenever a blogger I read announces a pregnancy, I always think back to see if I missed any signs of it. Most of the time they're pretty slick, but I think they have enough topics to talk about that what they're dealing with never needs to come up.  I'm not sure if I can pull it off or not.  It will seem a little funny ot not be able to talk about it here.  I remember the feeling of living a "double life" when I was pregnant last time, during the month and a half that we knew but hadn't shared the news with more than a few people.  It seemed so crazy to have this huge thing going on that was in our thoughts all the time, but to have to live like it was any other day.  I can only imagine how that feeling will be magnified if I don't blog about it. 

In the end I suppose we'll just play it by ear.  If things start taking a while, I might start talking about it.  Likewise, if we do have to deal with a miscarriage, it'll probably come up here, too...even if the pregnancy was never discussed prior.  We'll see how long I can hold off and stick to talking around the subject...not about it. 

So anyway, despite all my reservations, I know we'll figure it out and get through it.  There may be tears and yelling, laughs and smiles, but we will figure it out.  One day at a time, one blog post at a time, one kid at a time.  Stay tuned...

 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ending on a High Note

After a less-than-enjoyable Saturday night and Sunday, I was eager to make the most of our Monday.  Jacob allowed us to sleep until nearly 8am, which was a great start.  We had a lazy morning but got ready to head out to our favorite weekday-off lunch spot, the Pizza Hut buffet.  Alas, they weren't doing the buffet for the holiday, so we were out of luck.  We couldn't really decide where else to go, and a Jacob meltdown made the decision to go home, eat there, and go out for dinner.  We did a quick lunch at home, and then put Jacob down around 1:15.  He was quiet right away, and I headed out to do some yardwork.  I needed to finish some trimming, and once I was done about an hour later, I headed in to change into my bathing suit and enjoy some time in the pool.  We'd put the solar cover on after Saturday's swim because the water was a little cold, and when we took it off, it was darn near perfect.  It was pleasantly warm and perfect in the hot weather.  Craig and I spent a good hour or so just floating and chatting.  It was seriously perfect.  We headed back in the house at a time we figured would give us enough time to get dried off and changed in time for Jacob to wake up so we could head out for our evening activities.  Amazingly, we had more than enough time.  Jacob ended up sleeping over three hours!  That almost never happens.  That extra hour is a pretty phenomenal thing--always so unexpected, a pleasant bonus when you need to get things done, and such a good feeling since you know your child is getting some much needed rest. 

He woke up relatively happy and we headed out for a few stops, some of which ended up not actually happening since a couple of our stops closed early for the holiday.  We did manage to return the ill-fated bed rail that didn't work on Jacob's crib, and we grabbed some dinner before heading closer to home and going to the mini-golf place that we pass by nearly every day.  Jacob frequently points it out, though I was holding off on mini-golf after our unfortunate attempt back in the early spring.  Still, he seemed like he might be ready to try again.  It was the perfect evening for it and provided a fun activity to make up for the fact that we weren't going to the fireworks that night.  Fireworks are just too late on a school night.  Maybe another year when Jacob isn't quite so dependent on sleep to be a functional human being.

He was much better this time around.  He held his putter much better and followed the rules a little better.  He still tended to want to replay holes and frequently picked up his ball to try again or move it.  He did a lot more "sweeping" than putting, but when he did putt, he wasn't half bad.  Seriously.  In fact, he beat both of us on TWO holes.  And honestly, we're not that bad.  Both holes were certainly dumb luck, but still, he had it and we didn't!  One hole he putted, got his ball past five golf ball obstacles hanging by chains, and clunk...the ball went in!  Hole in one!  Even I didn't get a hole in one.  He also got a legit two on another hole that Craig and I had a bit of trouble on.  It was pretty crazy.  Here are a couple shots from the round:
Looking good!

Happy boy with the BLUE ball he was talking about the whole way there...



Action shot!  Loved his expression.  I actually think this was the hole-in-one shot!

With his hole-in-one ball...but it isn't the same as the old Putt-Putt days when you could get an orange ball if the lights on the clubhouse happened to be the same color as your ball!

I attempted to get a family shot via the self-timer, and it was two-thirds successful.  Jacob, on the other hand, was distracted by something.  As usual.
 After our round we went in and let Jacob play a few games of the little basketball shooting game, his favorite.  He did well, as usual, and earned himself a Twizzler with the tickets he won.  He also got a (free) ride on a motorcycle...
He was too cute and we had a really good time.  We headed home and got Jacob in bed, and "celebrated" the 4th by watching the Rochester fireworks display on TV.  It wasn't exactly ideal, but it was all we could muster this year.  It was nice to have a day to relax and not be running from picnic to party to fireworks, but it was definitely odd for two people with big, party-happy families to not have any plans...by choice.  It was a nice change of pace.  Maybe next year we'll be more social and find something to do.  Maybe we'll finally make a return trip to my office and watch them from above.  Or maybe next year we'll have a new baby and be stuck home yet again.  Who knows?  But this year was a pretty darn perfect day, I must say.  It was a far cry from our honeymoon eight years ago when we watched Las Vegas' fireworks from our hotel room, or years before that watching multiple displays from the roof of a friend's loft downtown, or even from the year we had our first big party at our old house with a bunch of family.  And you know what?  That's ok.  Traditions are fun, but changing it up has its benefits, too.  And this time around, doing something different was pretty darn great. 

Back to reality today, though.  Another busy week ahead...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Weekend News and Notes

It's been a bit of an up-and-down weekend.  As usual, Jacob has had his moments, but he has had some really good times, too, playing nicely and just being extra goofy.  Some of the things he says these days....well, some of them are extra cute, some of them are not-so-cute, and some of them are downright bizarre.  Sometimes he's getting a little too bold for our liking, defying our rules and requests, and laughing in the face of correction.  So frustrating.  He tends to be a little overzealous sometimes, thinking he's being funny by poking you with something, touching your face, or something similar, but it's really quite annoying and can even hurt.  Not sure what possesses him to get like that, but it happens a lot.  It's too bad, too, because I don't think he's trying to be bad, but that's how it ends up. 

We had a good time Friday night while Craig was in Hamilton, having a delicious dinner of blueberry pancakes (first time I ever made them) and playing tee ball in the front yard.  Craig ended up coming home after the game, which was a late night surprise for me, and while it was nice that we didn't have to wait for him to come home Saturday, it did make him a little extra tired all day.  I decided to work on potty training this weekend since we had three straight days at home without much to do, and Jacob did well all day.  He had a pull-up for nap, but woke up dry, and his big boy undies stayed dry other than one little drop that he must have felt and ran to the bathroom.  I thought maybe that turned on the light bulb for him--you know, knowing he had to go and stopping himself in time to run--but our evening proved otherwise.  When he went down for his nap, I went outside and did some much-needed hedge trimming, and by the time I came in and got ready to jump in the pool, Jacob was up.  Fortunately I did get to sneak into the pool, though I ended up vacuuming it instead of relaxing, because it was desperately needed.  We just can't seem to beat these little patches of dirt that keep collecting.  We went out for a quick dinner (our first outing in only big boy underwear, no plastic pants), and that went well.  However, once we came home, Jacob ran into the kitchen for something and came back out asking for new underwear--which always means he peed in his.  Sure enough, he peed his pants in the kitchen.  The good news is that it was easy cleanup.  The bad news is that our dry day was foiled.  Emphatically.  I finished the evening sitting on our porch with my laptop, watching three different illegal fireworks displays while doing research on our potential summer vacation.

Shortly after going to bed, I was roused by an odd sensation...almost like I was going to be sick, initially, then just an odd taste in my throat and eventually stomach pain and general discomfort.  I couldn't kick it, and I couldn't fall asleep.  For a short time I thought I might throw up, but fortunately it all stayed south.  Still, I was pretty miserable and didn't end up getting any decent sleep until at least 5am.  Even then it wasn't great and Jacob was up by 7:30.  He kicked off the morning by peeing his pants right on the living room rug--first asking for new underwear and then apparently letting enough go that it started dripping on the rug--which frustrated me to the point that he was in diapers/pull-ups for the rest of the day.  I just couldn't deal today even though that was probably the last response I should have had.  I have no idea if his bladder just can't deal, or if he gets distracted, or he just doesn't get it yet.  Even after accidents he insists on new underwear, but we're trying to get him to understand that he can't wear them unless he's willing to be a big boy, use the potty, and keep them dry.  And while he seems to know it, it just doesn't work.  So much for a dry weekend and wearing underwear to daycare.

I got a little extra rest here and there today, including after Jacob's nap (which may have been an hour or less--he woke up having pooped (a little soft himself--let's hope it was coincidence) and never went back to sleep) when Craig took him to a baseball field for over an hour and a half.  Still, my stomach didn't seem to improve until this evening.  Dinner didn't elicit too many rumbles, and we went out for ice cream afterward (I wanted to do something fun today), and while I stuck with a non-dairy choice, it did seem to settle ok.  Let's hope tomorrow is better.

It's a definite bummer to lose one day of a three-day weekend not feeling good.  I'm hoping we can do something fun tomorrow.  And yes, we will try underwear again...just with his plastic pants over them.  Hopefully I'll have enough energy to get some things done and still get in a little pool time.  Hopefully I'll also pull out the camera and get a couple pictures.  Overall it's been a low key weekend, which is fine, but I like to get a little bang for the buck on a weekend like this. 

Oh, and I also found out about a good friend's pregnancy via Facebook this weekend--only it wasn't her status update, it was her husband's.  I know social media changes things, and maybe I have no right to complain because she found out about mine via email when I was about three months along.  There were some odd circumstances that led to that, but even still, it wasn't ideal then.  This definitely seems to indicate that our friendship isn't quite what it once was.  It could just be a pure accident that her husband let it out of the bag before she had told who she needed to.  But it was a bit of a bummer to find out that way, even if I am super happy for them.  If nothing else, hopefully this will give the girls an excuse to get together again.  And now that Craig's schedule will be a little less demanding in the fall, there should be time for it.

So, anyway, we'll see how tomorrow goes...and then on to another week...

Friday, July 1, 2011

Looking for the bright side...

So, the last couple days haven't been the greatest.  Craig didn't have a good feeling about how the staff reorganization was going to go in the wake of the Sabres' purchase of the Amerks.  He didn't feel like his "interview" was truly an interview (they asked more questions about the department than what he did) and they seemed generally distracted throughout.  He had an inkling that they had earmarked a guy that already worked for the Sabres for his position.  The guy was once one of Craig's interns and has gone on to jobs with a couple NHL teams.  He also lives in Rochester, so it make perfect sense.  Sure enough, he got the job.  The stringing along wasn't cool, however, and neither was the fact that they decided at the last minute to create a position for Craig's assistant.  How a guy that works his butt off all the time, after hours, on weekends, etc., ends up on the outs, I don't know.  Not to take anything away from the other guys, but I can almost guarantee that Craig would do as much work as both of those guys combined, for obviously considerably less than they'll be paying those two.  That's just how he is.  He doesn't stop until the work's done, and unfortunately, in his job it pretty much never was.  Ironic, however, that during his 12-year Amerk career, Craig trained no less than four people that went on to work under the Sabres' umbrella.  Hmmm. 

I'm not gonna lie, it's a little sad.  I mean, everything is abuzz here now.  Hockey had become a bit irrelevant in this town, and suddenly it's on the front of the paper and everyone's clamoring for the $10/game season tickets the Sabres instituted.  It would have been fun to be a part of it.  And I was all excited to really care about the Sabres again (not that I didn't before, but I've had mixed emotions since the Amerks-Sabres divorce a while back), and now I'm a little miffed again.  Maybe that will ease a bit with time, but it's really unfortunate nonetheless.  It's hard to watch your spouse get the shaft, knowing the heart, soul, sacrifice and dedication he put in every single day.

The good news is that he's not out of a job.  He's still with the Knighthawks, though exactly how his job will be structured and what his salary will be is still in question.  My biggest fear, of course, is that they'll lowball him on salary.  If that happens, it's going to make everything just a bit harder...not the least of which is the goal to have baby #2 in the works by later this year.  That extra $11K in daycare costs (and that's being conservative) was going to be a struggle enough...let alone if we're down a few more thousand in salary.  My hope is that they'll have him take on additional responsibility (much of which he probably did unofficially before anyway) since the staff will be pretty small, and consider his expertise worthy of a decent salary.  Let's hope...though nothing has really worked out ideally in this so far.  I'm trying to keep the faith, though, that something will have to work out in our favor eventually.  The other variable here is that the Knighthawks' future in Rochester is iffy--issues with the arena lease, mostly--and if they leave, he's pretty much screwed.  We should have a couple years to figure it out, though, and a lot can happen in that time.

So, in an effort to embrace this new twist and/or turn in our lives, I'm trying to look at the good things about the situation...and yes, there are good things.

1) Craig has a job - In this economy, I'm just grateful he has a job at all.  There was one guy out of the whole staff who didn't get an offer from either team, and believe me, I feel for that guy.  Whether or not it was deserved is up for debate, but to be told neither team wants you has to be hard.  At least one group values Craig's presence (just how much remains to be seen), and it's better than nothing at this point.  And for the record, a situation like this is among the reasons why I left the teams and got a different job--because in the event of some major catastrophe, we didn't need both of us out of work.  My old position did get picked up by the Sabres, but who knows in a situation like that what could have happened.

2) He'll be at work a lot less - He may not necessarily have less work to do (believe it or not) but there's 40 less games he'll need to physically be at, and a handful more that he won't have to follow when the team is on the road.  He'll still have something going on most weekends from Thanksgiving to late May (between training camp, the regular season, and a playoff run), but it should just be one thing most weekends--one game or one roadtrip--rather than multiple games, or one home game and a roadtrip.  I don't mind a little alone time (my chance to catch up on the DVR in the evenings!), so this sounds just about right.

3) Holidays shouldn't be as crunched - My job is pretty good about holiday time off.  I get two days at Thanksgiving and usually a week at Christmas (a couple days of which we need to make up prior, but still).  In the past, Craig has constantly been coming back to Rochester right away because there's almost always an Amerks game on the Friday after Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas.  This year, that shouldn't be a problem.  He might still have Knighthawks training camp to attend to, but that should be a bit more flexible. Being in Buffalo might actually be a benefit if practices are held up in Canada like they often are. 

4) He'll be able to come to games with us - It was rare that we got to watch live sporting events together as a family.  We've done a few soccer games here and there, and a couple lacrosse games, too.  But most of the time, Craig's working and Jacob and I are in the stands.  This year, assuming we hit up a few Amerks games, we'll be going as a family.  It won't be quite as cheap (free was tough to beat, parking included), but it'll make it a special occasion and that will be fun, too.  A throwback to my teen years, perhaps, when a Friday night hockey game was about the coolest thing ever. 

5) He might get his creative juices flowing - Craig has always had way too much on his plate.  He had all of his PR stuff to do for both teams (even five teams at one time), but always found himself having to be the lacrosse champion because no one wanted to focus on it.  He'd come up with promotions and events to keep the Knighthawks visible, but inevitably they never got to be as great as he wanted them to be because there just weren't enough hours in the day or enough hands to help out.  There may still not be enough hours or hands, but hopefully now he'll have a little more time to devote to those creative pursuits.  Inevitably, those events end up being far more rewarding than the standard day-to-day work, so perhaps his job satisfaction will increase.  Speaking of job satisfaction...

6) He'll get to keep his broadcasting job - Craig really loves broadcasting.  I can just see the extra sparkle in his eye when it's a topic of conversation or when he happens to turn on a rebroadcast of a game.  Having done TV myself (back in 2003-04 I hosted the teams' weekly TV show), I know how it feels to see the finished product--awkward yet strangely rewarding.  Each one is like your own little work of art, flawed or not.  I also know the amount of sadness I heard in his voice when he told Jacob he might not do it anymore.  Had he become a full time Amerks employee, he would have had to give it up.  The mere thought of someone else being the voice of the Knighthawks was a bit of a bummer, quite frankly, so this is one major bright spot.  I like being able to listen to Craig's broadcasts, and I think it's cool for Jacob, too.  It's another one of those subtle job satisfaction things--the ability to do something not everyone gets to do, but many aspire to do.  It's fun.

7) He might find a better job - Given that the Knighthawks' long-term presence in Rochester is a bit of a question mark, I'd have to think that's strong motivation to keep an eye out for potential job openings elsewhere.  Not that he wouldn't have done the same with the Amerks, of course--you always have to keep an eye out for what's best for your family--but with a possible end date on this job it makes it a little more urgent.  If he would have gotten the Amerks job, I think there would have been a little more security in general, and less of an urgency to explore other options, even if in the long run getting a job outside of sports is the goal.  I'd love to see Craig get a job that pays him what he's worth and that runs a little more in the 9-to-5 realm.  I want him to like his job, of course, but I'd also love for him to be less busy, less stressed, and more available at key times.  Maybe this is the first step toward something like that, whether he's with the Knighthawks or not.  If not, perhaps having a little extra time will afford him the opportunity to teach like he's wanted to for so long, or even get his teaching certification or PhD so he'd have a little better choice of teaching jobs.  However, I will need a lot of assurances before we add student loans or any sort of tuition to the bills!

No matter how things go, it's going to be an intesting time for us.  At least we have a bright side to look for...now to just ignore the other stuff... ;-)