Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day Six - Heading Home

As much as it usually stinks to come home from vacation, I was pretty relieved on Thursday morning.  It had been a long week.  While we certainly had fun and saw a lot, there were a lot of elements of the trip that I was happy to leave behind--or at least deal with on our own turf.  Jacob had been quite difficult at times, we had some bad timing and frustrating moments, and everything was just starting to feel so darn expensive.  Routine can get old, but it can also be a lifesaver sometimes.

Anyway, we pushed through one more morning of hotel life, ate our continental breakfast (Jacob loved his Raisin Bran, muffin, and juice!), and packed up to leave.  Our first stop was a couple hours away, a little bit past Philly.  We visited the McDonoughs, who you may remember from numerous other occasions when we've gotten the boys together, either at our house or at Colin's grandparents' house on the other side of Rochester.  We finally had made our way down to them!  It was extra exciting because they just added a little girl, Kelly, to their family the day before Jacob's birthday!  In addition, we hadn't had a chance to visit in over a year, so the boys were considerably older and chattier this time around and we were looking forward to seeing them play together.

We really had a great time and I wish it could have been longer!  The boys played together very nicely, though with the usual kid accusations of toy stealing and deficient turn-taking.  But it all stayed very pleasant and we had a nice time catching up.  The boys talked a mile a minute about anything and everything, which was the biggest change from our last visit, when Jacob was just starting to talk.  They played trains, golf, swords (foam, of course), drew with chalk, and hid away in the laundry room.  And, of course, I got to hold Kelly for quite a while!  It's so amazing to hold a tiny baby.  I picked her up and it felt like picking up air!  So light, and yet she's somewhere around 8 lbs.  I guess that shows you what happens when you're picking up 30+ pounds all the time!  She was so sweet and hardly cried, and I marveled at her tiny feet (seriously--at birth they were a good half inch smaller than her big brother's were!) fun :)  We had a couple moderately successful attempts at getting a picture of the boys together...

And then I opted for easier subjects... :)

We stayed for lunch and then headed out, though we hated to leave so soon.  We'll hopefully have another visit to look forward to at some point soon, when they all get up the courage to make the long trip north to visit the grandparents!  Can't wait! 

After that we headed back to the baseball stadium in Allentown.  Craig had bought a shirt at the game and it turned out it didn't fit him, so since it was on our general path home, we stopped in so he could exchange it.  While we were there, we broke down and got a couple of the stuffed versions of the Pork Racers.  The plan was to give one to Jacob now and keep the other for a special occasion, but so far we haven't taken one back because he's been enjoying racing them against his pierogy guys :)  Here's the display, though, so you can see them...
We got the two on the right--one ham, one bacon.  The hot dog will have to wait.
After that, we got into the longest driving streak of the trip.  We did take one gas/snack break, and another bathroom break (me, not Jacob--though he did pee out of his pull-up twice that day, and maybe even a third time once we got home--we had so many incidents like that on this trip, they all tend to blur now), but the path from Allentown to Syracuse was a long one.  Along the way I happened to check Facebook and saw a post by my aunt saying that my grandma wasn't doing well and she was flying home the next I called my mom to check in.  That's when I found out she was going downhill pretty quickly, having stopped eating and hardly responding at all.  It was sad to hear, even though she'd been ready to go for a long time.  I was relieved she made it through our trip, though, if only because I wanted to enjoy the week off and I didn't want to deal with trying to get refunds on hotels or anything else.  The trip was a significant time and money investment and I would have hated to see it go to waste.  Selfish, perhaps, but no doubt it would have been a tough situation had it come to that.

Knowing that the drive home would be long, I arranged for us to meet my college roommate, Mary, for dinner just outside of Syracuse.  It was really a perfect stopping point, and it was SO great to see her.  We marveled over the fact that it had been so long (since last fall) since we had seen each other.  Even though we don't see each other that often and would certainly like to more, we've got one of those friendships that just seems to pick up easily when we finally do get together.  I still thank God that he put us together our freshman year (15 years ago!!) because we really were a fantastic match and it made the transition to college so much easier to have a roommate that not only didn't drive me nuts, but was a pleasure to live with. 

Jacob fell asleep shortly before our arrival in Syracuse and woke up shortly before we arrived at the restaurant.  I don't know if it was the oddly timed nap, a burst of energy, or a whole lot of craziness pent up after a day in the car, but holy cow was he a pain in the neck at dinner.  He wouldn't let go of me, initially, and then didn't want to sit, was a little crazy while we were waiting for our food (long story, but it has to do with Ketchup Man, a tactic we relied on a lot on this trip--but Jacob's really getting into it and it's hard to dissuade him now when he gets a little overzealous), and then would hardly eat.  Eventually he chilled a little and had some cute moments, but it made for a bit of a disjointed meal.  Still, it was well worth the stop to chat with Mary, and the rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful. 

It felt so good to get home, but that feeling was shortlived as we had to get Jacob in bed and start unpacking.  So much to do after so many days away!  We ended up having a pretty laid back Friday, my grandma passed away early Saturday morning, and Craig headed out on a roadtrip Saturday afternoon.  Jacob and I didn't do much for the 24 hours that followed.  We played, went to church, ate...and that was about it.  I did some reorganizing during Saturday's nap, and vacuumed out my ridiculously dirty car during Sunday's nap.  Sunday evening we went to a memorial hockey game for our friend and former Amerk, Craig Charron, who died last October from stomach cancer.  We went to a similar event last year while Sharky was still alive, after which we went to a postgame reception and got to meet the Miracle on Ice hero, Mike Eruzione.  This year Craig didn't have to work it since he's no longer with the Amerks, but he did do some prep work for it early on.  The good news is that we got to watch it as a family.  Craig did take advantage of his connections and got down to the locker room, where he asked former Sabres' goalie Martin Biron (who he knows from his time with the Amerks) to sign one of Jacob's mini goalie sticks.  He did, but then grabbed his stick from the game and signed it directly to Jacob!  When Craig came up the steps with that stick, my jaw hit the ground.  So awesome.  What a great guy.

Monday it was back to reality, but we were quickly off again to head to NT for all of the funeral activities for my Grandma.  Two more days off and a continuation of our crazy schedule lately.  Should be an interesting challenge to get back to normal one of these days.

I still have some lingering thoughts on our trip, but I guess I'll save those for another day... 

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