Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

It's been a busy week.  So busy, in fact, that these pictures go back to last Friday, actually.  We had a great weekend, a four day one, at that.  Much needed, trust me.

Thursday night we were out at a Champion's Cup appearance with a bunch of the Knighthawks' big fans.  Jacob, as usual, decided to be difficult at an inopportune moment.  He had the chance to drink chocolate milk out of the cup with a couple other kids, but he chickened out.  Ugh.  However, Craig brought the cup home with him that night since he had an appearance at a radio station the next morning.  I taped Jacob walking into our room and seeing the cup.  It was pretty cute, but alas, a little large to upload here.  Someday I will do a YouTube thing!  But anyway...here's a picture of him hanging out with the cup...

On Friday, Craig and I had a date day.  Jacob went to daycare, and the two of us went out to lunch and to see "Crooked Arrows", a lacrosse movie.  It was fun to just be the two of us for a change.  We would have done something fun Friday night, but Jacob's behavior lately just hasn't warranted it. 

Saturday we had a picnic with my family here in town.  It was fun to see everyone (and eat!), and Jacob had a blast playing with his second cousins, as always.  We spent a good chunk of the rest of the weekend outside--playing with Jacob, doing yardwork, cleaning the pool (it's cool but refreshing!), and planting a mini-garden.  Exhausting, but a good feeling to get it done.  We actually didn't do much else until Monday afternoon. 

Monday we decided to head to the zoo.  Our zoo just opened a major new exhibit a couple weeks ago, and we were overdue to renew our membership.  The new exhibit features three lions, some goats, a new food stand, and some fun activities. Its opening also meant that the exhibits beyond it--the elephants and the baboons--were accessible for the first time in over a year. 
Looking out over the new space
The lion exhibit is pretty great.  There used to be this long, boring walk down to the elephants and baboons, but it's been replaced by a fantastic little area bringing the African theming to all three exhibits together.  There's a Masai hut, the goats, a fossil dig area, a double-decker bus observation area, some fun photo ops, and a walk up window to see the lions.  Here's where they were when we got there...
Lounging in the shade!  There is one male and two females.
After a couple minutes, the male came right up and sat next to the glass.  He's very regal, with giant paws and a gorgeous face.
Not sure how well  you can see it, but the remains of lunch were scattered about...bloody bones, including jaw bones with teeth and everything.  Gross.  I wonder what kind of animals they feed them!
Jacob loved the double-decker bus and kept wanting to go back there.  It's neat to have that sort of vantage point, though I have a feeling I'm going to spend many zoo visits dragging Jacob back downstairs!

I love watching the baboons because there's a lot of them and they're very active.  They're almost always doing something interesting--playing, grooming, chasing--and Monday was no exception!  One was playing under a blanket, and I caught this picture of a baby snuggling its mama...
So sweet...just how I wish I could be with Jacob more often!
Of course, we had one classic moment when one baboon rolled on his back and let it all hang out...literally.  Jacob's like, "I see his wiener, Mommy..."  Awesome.  I'm just glad he didn't notice the size difference between that one and the one next to him.  Let's just say I think the one we were looking at was a little...ummm....happier.  Yikes.

I can't resist including this picture that I snapped on the way back out...
Silly boys!
And this one was pretty cute, too...
Riding the alligator!
We went to a party at our friend's house for dinner, and managed to keep Jacob occupied at a mostly-adult party for quite a while--thanks to ladder golf, playing catch, and a couple doggies.  We were all pretty exhausted by the end of the weekend, yet no one slept well on Monday night.  Jacob was up whimpering, Craig had a headache and stomach ache, and I was up every time either of them was.  In the end everyone was fine, though Jacob did wake up with a cold yesterday morning so perhaps the rough night was foreshadowing for that.  It's made for a couple sleepy days at work, and now tomorrow I'm running in the Chase Corporate Challenge, the race I've been training for for months.  My goal is to run the 3.5 miles in 30 minutes, which I've done a few times on the treadmill.  However, my last couple weeks of runs have been very challenging and I'm not sure I have any chance to achieve that level of success tomorrow.  I'm hoping for a solid dose of adrenaline, but considering I haven't gotten close to that speed in a couple weeks, I'm concerned.  Still, it'll be a nice night out by myself (the after party is always fun!) and once I'm past it, I'll probably take a break from running for a bit--or at least explore other workout options for a change.  I'll miss the calorie burn, for sure, but I need the change.  It's been nice to have a goal, but I'm ready to be out from under it!  My bike and the great outdoors are waiting, at the very least!

Anyway, it was nice to have a productive weekend together and I'm ready to see what the summer holds!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Memorial Day Miscellany

- It never fails...I post something about how awesome Jacob is, and he responds by being a giant pain.  I know I probably sound like I'm repeating myself, but boy, are we ever having a tough time with him these days.  I can't even describe how frustrating it has been, because he pushes back on everything.  He's all about testing us and trying to be funny.  And, of course, he's not funny.  We have to tell him a dozen times to do anything, he messes around when he shouldn't (which usually means he hurts himself or makes a mess), he battles us on wearing clothes or eating food or anything else.  A couple examples from today: Jacob and Craig were playing basketball in the driveway, and at one point Jacob just rolled the ball under Craig's car on purpose, saying he was "bowling".  Once in a while Jacob starts to lean on our La-Z-Boy and rock it very hard, to the point it hits the wall.  Today he started doing it (again) and (again) Craig told him to stop.  He purposely rocked it twice more, at which point Craig gave him a whack on the butt because he purposely defied him.  We've had to plop him in his room multiple times this weekend because he gets out of control, usually over nothing.  He whines and cries over the littlest things, insists on wearing pants, sleeves, and high socks out into 80-degree weather, and threw a couple minor potty accidents into the mix today.  He talks back, purposely talks potty talk (be it poop, boobies, boogers, etc.), and says nasty things.  His behavior has been so bad that we haven't done many of the fun activity options we had for the weekend.  We're not even sure how to discipline him at this point.  He doesn't really respond to much, so we're almost at the point of needing to do something drastic--like take away his herd of stuffed animals or keep him inside all day.  I'm trying to be consistent, but it's so hard to not get emotional and generally caught up in the craziness.  We're just sort of stumped about why he's acting this way and how to stop it. 

- I'm pretty sure Jacob nearly skipped right over a size of clothing.  For years he was pretty much right on with his clothing sizes (2T at age 2, for example), but over the past year or so, he's shifted.  He wore 4Ts all winter, and his pants even started getting short by the end of the winter.  His waist is still tiny, but given an adjustable waist band, he needs the length of bigger sizes.  Now I'm buying a lot of 5T stuff for him, or even venturing into the boys' section and picking up XS sizes there.  It boggles my mind a little bit to be nearly done with the baby section.  I'm feeling like his wardrobe is a little limited right now because we can't reuse as many of his summer clothes from last year as usual (short sleeves and shorts are godsends for a gangly kid), but his birthday is coming so I'm trying to make do for now. 

- I won a prize from a blog on babble.com!  Every once in a while I enter drawings on blogs, usually ones that just involve leaving a random comment.  Well, the other day I was notified that I won a MegaBloks prize package!  Of all the ones I could win, that one wasn't the most exciting, but it was still pretty cool.  And it was a fun bonus yesterday to see the FedEx truck dropping it off.  Inside was $50 worth of MegaBloks products.  There's a small bus toy similar to one Jacob already has, a larger dump truck toy, and a big bag of blocks.  I haven't quite decided what to do with them yet.  I think Jacob is going to get the blocks because he's really enjoyed building structures with the big set he got for his birthday last year, but sometimes he's seemed to run out of blocks.  The other two are within his age range but I'm not sure either of them are toys he'd typically play with, and he's got enough toys already (including one similar one), so I'll probably keep them as gifts or something.  Still, it was fun to win.

- We need to get him in the pool at some point soon, so I'm in the market for a good flotation device.  He's outgrown his full suit with built-in floats, so I just put out a request on Facebook for suggestions.  I'd like to get some real-life answers beyond Amazon reviews.  Jacob mostly just likes to play sports instead of swim, but considering we have this pool and I assume some day he will love it, now is the time to start pushing a little before he's "that kid" who can't swim at his friends' pool parties.  Now that we have this pool, it's a little more motivation to take any future babies to swim class right off the bat.  I'd rather not fight these battles again!

Anyway...we've had a pretty low key weekend.  Four days off is a glorious thing.  Craig and I were off on Friday for a date day--we went to see the lacrosse movie "Crooked Arrows" and enjoyed lunch together.  We went to a family picnic here yesterday, and otherwise I've been working on the yard quite a bit--killing weeds, trimming, pruning bushes, and hopefully planting a little garden.  Craig finally seems to have conquered our lawn and gotten it to a good length to maintain.  We installed the pool steps today and I braved the cool (but pleasant) water to vacuum it finally.  We haven't done the zoo or mini-golf like we expected to, thanks to Jacob's behavior.  Maybe tomorrow.  There's always tomorrow...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Good Night

Sometimes Jacob's behavior is so frustrating. He can be the most awesome kid at times, and then just repeatedly drive you crazy with ridiculous behavior apparently meant to invoke a reaction.  He doesn't listen, he talks about inappropriate things (potty talk, mostly), and whines and complains about the most inane stuff.  Why he wants a reaction like that (meaning, yelling, punishments, etc.), I have no idea.  I'd much rather give him hugs and do the fun things we can do when he's being a good boy. 

Last night Craig had to go to a dinner and, you know, meet Eli Manning and stuff...which was cool for him.  Jacob and I had a decidedly less exciting meal and found ourselves with a beautiful evening and some time to kill before bedtime, so I suggested taking a wagon ride.  The ride turned into a trip to the playground around the corner, and we really did have a lovely evening.  It was so nice to have a night without battles. 

Of course, before we got to that point, Jacob was running around the house trying to find his Batman costume, which he was insisting he wear for his ride.  When he couldn't find it, he got all weepy and whiny, but I told him that it was his responsibility to take care of it, and if he really wanted to wear it (since I already told him he shouldn't) that he needed to find it.  Eventually he went up to his room and emerged in his Captain America shirt, then retrieved his mask and shield from the toy shelf.  He looked like one of those kids you smile and roll your eyes at in the store when they're dressed like something else (a fairy, a princess, a ninja, etc.), but I figured it wasn't a battle worth fighting.  If nothing else he'd give the neighbors a laugh.  I don't know about you, but this picture does it for me:

We didn't initially plan on going to the playground, but once we got going it seemed wise to have a destination rather than just walking up and down the street.  So, off to the playground it was!  He was a little hesitant to play on the same structure as another group of kids, but he had fun going down the slide and climbing up the fake mountain.  It amazes me when I see him do stuff like that how easy it is for him now.  I used to have to shadow him constantly, and he was afraid of slides for so long.  Now he's an old pro.  I credit daycare and lots of time on their playground for that!

After a while he decided he wanted to explore other parts of the playground and immediately started climbing this thing:

Admittedly, I got a little nervous because Jacob, despite being athletic, is clumsy as heck.  But he did what he could and climbed back down once he got near the top and wasn't sure what to do with himself.  In the meantime, I debated between snapping a picture and being there to catch him if he fell.  I had brief visions of a long summer with him in a cast from some sort of awkward fall.  But he seemed steady enough and I managed to snap this shot, which I love.

Later on he insisted on putting on his Captain America stuff again, presumably because he wanted to "go fast" down the slide and feel like a superhero. 

My personal favorite was when he got to the bottom of the slide and had been electrified by the static...

At one point he was stumped as to how to get up to a platform.  There were monkey bars heading there (no way...not yet), or a little climbing structure that was, in essence, a ladder, but looked far more intimidating.  After a few tries of letting him attempt it himself, he gave up.  At that point I pulled him back to it, showed him where to put his hands and feet, helped him get one foot where it needed to be, and let him do the rest.  He was pretty proud of himself once he got up, and I'll be interested to see how he does next time.  Up on the platform he was excited to find pictures of the sign language finger-spelling alphabet.  He learns it at daycare, and started trying to sing the alphabet and do the signs at the same time.  He was so happy doing it, and I happened to take this picture...
You can't really make out the signs, but I like how it almost looks like he's holding the setting sun.
I tried to take advantage of the fantastic sunset lighting to get a cute picture of him just sitting there waiting to be lifted back down to the ground, and this was as good as it got before I was afraid he'd scooch himself right off the platform...

On our way back home, I stopped to take a picture of these adorable little flowers.  I tried to get an even closer shot of one, but I couldn't hold the camera still enough to get a good shot based on the light left outside.  However, I really like this one still.  Hello, my name is Amy, and I'm a macro setting addict.  Sigh.  But flowers are just so pretty...

Anyway, it was just a nice night.  There was minimal yelling, minimal disobedience, minimal frustration all around.  It's amazing how much fun we can have when Jacob decides to be a nice boy.  He's been asking to go back to the playground ever since, and I just wish he'd understand that we'd do a lot more of that stuff if he behaved himself more often.  It sort of kills the fun when he always needs to change his clothes or grab sports equipment or have things be a certain way before he cooperates.  Sometimes he just has to roll with it.  He gets something in his head, won't listen to reason, and then misses out on fun.  Tonight he missed out on an opportunity to drink out of the Champion's Cup with a few other kids--chocolate milk, via straws--and despite asking repeatedly about drinking out of the cup, he suddenly refused.  I'm not sure why, but all I can say is that hopefully he'll get another chance!  If not, he let his hard-headedness get in his way yet again.

In the meantime, I'll think about last night as a fun time of mother-son bonding and proof that he can be the coolest kid ever.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Rest of the Weekend

After our handful of hours of sleep on Sunday morning, we had to head out to Buffalo for our nephew's birthday party.  Thank goodness I controlled myself beverage-wise, because sleep deprivation was causing me enough problems without being hung over, too.  Still, we wouldn't have missed the party, so off we went. 

Once we got there, Jacob was doing his own thing, playing in a corner with a pirate ship toy.  For whatever reason, he wasn't interested in heading out to play with his cousins.  Eventually he broke into their supply of dress-up costumes and put on a Power Ranger one.  He finally got around to heading outside to the bounce house, and was happy to discover that there was a hoop in there.  After tracking down the ball, he took a few shots...
When's the last time you saw a basketball-playing ninja? :)
He also had fun bouncing...

And climbing...
Where did this brave little climber come from?
And sliding...
Don't know if you can see it, but he's got a huge smile on his face.  Later on the kids were making it a water slide, and Jacob ended up wet enough that we had to change him into his bathing suit (after the fact) because Mommy didn't bring enough backup clothes.
And here's Jacob (in a new outfit--ninja turtle, this time) helping his cousin blow out his candles.  I guess he's practicing for a month from that day, when he'll be doing the same thing.  How is my baby turning four?!

We had a great time visiting with family and recalling the events of the previous night, but I'm not gonna lie--it made for a very long day and I was never so happy to fall into my bed that night.  It's been a busy week and we've been trying to catch up on our sleep.  Apparently the old body doesn't bounce back like it used to.  I could barely keep my eyes open at work the past couple days.  Today was the first day I wasn't in agony, but rest assured, I'm still tired.  Fortunately I will have a nice long weekend to try to recover.  I can't wait! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

We Are The Champions!

So...based on the title you can see that Saturday was a good day, but here's the rundown.  Bear with me--I'm probably going to go into great detail here, but I want to document this fully before I forget the details :)

Craig was off bright and early for a big championship gameday, and Jacob and I were on our own.  He slept in until after 8am, so our morning got off to a wonderfully slow start.  We snuggled on the couch and watched "old hockey guys" on a Sabres DVD we have before getting ourselves ready and out to door to head to the library.  A book I've been waiting to get was back in at the library and I'd been meaning to get there for some new books for Jacob as well.  I picked up my book, as well as an assortment for Jacob--everything from the Berenstain Bears and two of Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny books to a hockey-themed I Spy book and an old favorite, Dino-Soccer.  We headed home for a quick lunch and Jacob went down for a very necessary nap.  In the meantime, I was all over the house.  I washed winter clothes, dusted the main floor, cleaned up the kitchen, and reorganized Jacob's toys into similarly grouped bins.  By the time I was done, my parents arrived for the Knighthawks game and shortly thereafter, Jacob woke up. 

We decided to do some geocaching before the game, so we headed downtown to hit up a series of them in close proximity.  They were all tiny ones--a few just smaller than pill canisters and two others the size of the tip of your pinkie--so Jacob couldn't really do much looking and settled instead for finding sticks and other objects, and throwing pinecones, much to mommy's dismay.  Still, it was cool to check out places I'd passed by previously and never checked out, or places I'd never noticed at all.  Here's a shot of Jacob in motion near a statue just across the way from my gym...
Captures him perfectly...he never stops!
And here's an artsy-ish shot from a park inside the preserved remains of a burned out church...
The church burned down in the 70s and they kept what they could and turned it into an urban park.  I never should have told Jacob what it was, because he was obsessed with the church having had a fire for the rest of the night.  Oops.  I guess I was hoping it would just go over his head.  Guess not.
After dinner down the street from the arena, we enjoyed a walk in the lovely weather down to the game.  By that point the nerves began to take over and I spent a good portion of the rest of the night hoping my digestive system would cooperate.  There was a great crowd and everyone was visibly pumped.  The good news about playing a team from far away (in this case, Edmonton) was that 99% of the fans in the arena were cheering for the home team.  That made it less competitive in the stands (fun in its own way, when your team is winning), but like one big party. 

The game started out very competitively.  Our goalie was making awesome saves and while we weren't getting a lot of shots, we had a few great chances.  Craig had told me that if we stayed close early on, we'd have a good shot at taking it.  Apparently Edmonton's style of play lends itself to tiring out later in the game.  Unfortunately, Edmonton scored first.  When they scored another goal, I started to get nervous.  We just weren't getting chances, or many bounces, and that usually spells disaster.  This was reminiscent of the 2003 Championship Game against Toronto, which a friend and fellow co-worker likes to remind me was the night I slammed my clipboard on the desk in frustration.  That game ended up as an 8-5 loss, and one of the hardest games I've ever had to watch.  I literally couldn't bring myself to watch the celebration on the floor afterward. 

Anyway, by the end of the first half it was 5-1 and the way the game had been going, I was pretty sure it didn't bode well.  Lacrosse is a funny sport--a game of runs--but there are times when no matter what you do, a run never comes.  Usually the Knighthawks run into that at the most inopportune time, so I was pretty sure we could add this one to the list.  However, when I ran into the Knighthawks' biggest fan (and a good friend of ours) on a walk around the arena at halftime, he was genuinely confident that we had them right where we wanted them.  I hoped he was right.

After Jacob played his usual halftime lacrosse game in a corner of the arena, we headed upstairs to change up the luck.  We had brought with us Jacob's little stuffed hawk, who seemed to be a strange little good luck charm after Craig bought him before a game about a month ago.  We'd brought him to every game since (and Craig took him to Toronto, site of the improbable win that sent us to the finals), and I decided that it was time to leave the Hawk with Craig, just in case it did more good in his care than in ours.  Craig was mid-broadcast so I dropped the Hawk on his table with nothing more than a look, and then Jacob and I walked down to the arena production booth.  Usually we try to stop in and visit a few old friends, and for whatever reason, the Knighthawks tend to score more when we're up there.  Go figure. 

I think the rest of the arena had ideas to switch things up and change the luck, as well (Craig has examples from behind the scenes, too), because collectively it seemed to work.  Either that or it was one heck of a halftime speech in the locker room.  During the course of the third quarter, the Knighthawks chipped away at the deficit...and suddenly, we were WINNING.  Of course, somewhere in the middle of it, my friend (the clipboard story guy) said, "You can't leave now!" as I was sitting there thinking about my parents waiting for us down in the seats.  However, by the end of the third I believe we were up by two goals and it seemed like the tide had officially turned.  I never trust any lead in lacrosse, but it seemed like we were finally getting bounces, consistently scoring, and still seeing great saves by our goalie.  So, down we went, with full intentions of heading back up if the situation warranted.  If, indeed, the Knighthawks could pull this off, I wanted to be down in the crowd to experience it.  After all, among all the reasons I wanted the Knighthawks to win this time, the top one was that I wanted the fans to experience it.  Nothing could beat the win in Phoenix (for many reasons), but knowing that the fans had been cheated out of that one (because the circus was in town and the game had to move), I really wanted this for them.

The Knighthawks clung to their slim lead for the entire fourth quarter, and I can't even describe the nerves I was feeling.  I was already in shock that the Knighthawks were even in a championship game, let alone in our own arena, and the fact that we were losing so handily at the end of the first half made the slim late-game lead that much more amazing.  I was in total disbelief that we could actually win this game.  Sure enough, though, time ticked down.  Near the end of the game the Knighthawks scored one more which pretty much clinched it, and I spent the last minute or so savoring the moment.  The crowd was going nuts.  I picked up Jacob to make sure he could appreciate it (though later handed him off to my dad so I could take pictures and video), and thought back to those last moments in Phoenix five years ago when I realized that my dream was coming true and we were actually going to be the champions.  And now it was happening again!

The game ended, the crowd roared, and the celebration was on!

Jacob was apparently just taking it all in, because despite our best attempts, it was like pulling teeth to get a smile out of him...
Closest we got...
Jacob and I had passes to go on the field, so shortly after the initial celebration, we headed down.  It took a couple minutes, but eventually we found Craig and got a good spot for the cup presentation.  It was great to see it all happening again.  Here's one of the veterans hoisting the cup:
Mike Accursi was on the 2007 championship team, then ended up with Buffalo the next year.  He won a championship there in 2008, and eventually ended up back in Rochester, much to my delight.  I swear the guy is a little bit of playoff magic.
 And here's the traditional championship photo:
Craig is in the back row, just to the left of the middle.
Jacob cracked a couple smiles while we were down there, but I think mostly he was taking it all in.  It was pure chaos, so I can't blame him.  I probably should have picked him up more, but I suppose I felt like it was more important to capture the photos for posterity so we can both have a way to remember the events of the night.  He did get a chance to touch the cup, with the promise that he'll get to drink out of it sometime this summer.  Milk is apparently his beverage of choice! 

Here's another unsuccessful attempt to capture Jacob enjoying the celebration.  I can't remember what goofy thing Jacob did to elicit the look on Craig's face, but rest assured it was pure Jacob.

During the trophy presentation Craig flashed open his suit coat and showed me Jacob's hawk inside his pocket.  Maybe that hawk does have a special gift!  Jacob was happily reunited with him, and here he is showing him off...
This is what I get when I tell Jacob to stand there, show me his hawk, and smile!
I think this picture just captures our little boy better than maybe any other...animal in hand, quietly checking out the turf in the midst of a giant, chaotic celebration...
Notice he's wearing his special pass...and the same t-shirt and jersey he wore for just about every other game this season.
After a while the arena started to clear out, and I dispatched Jacob to my parents' care (my mom stayed over).  At some point both Craig and the cup disappeared.  Craig had a press conference to run, and the team had retreated to the locker room to celebrate.  The families and staff were left on the turf for a pizza party.  Understandably, the staff was a little disappointed.  After all, in Phoenix we had a small, intimate group--a handful of staff and a few wives/girlfriends--and pretty much everyone was in the locker room for the champagne spraying scenes you see on TV when major league teams win.  That didn't happen this time, and the staff was visibly worried they were going to miss all the fun.

A little while later, Craig returned and so did the cup.  We all took turns getting the pictures we wanted...particularly this one...

Craig had to finish up some work before he could officially get back to celebrating, and we ended up spending some time at the office, where the staff had retreated with a couple cases of beer.  We looked at some of the awesome pictures one of the photographers had captured, had a couple celebratory beverages, and finally wrapped up the working part of the evening. 

We headed off to a local bar/restaurant whose owner is a huge fan, and Craig called one of the players to check the status of the cup, knowing that the fans at this place (the die-hards) would be jonesing for a chance to party with it.  Shortly thereafter, the players and hardware arrived, and we had a great time.  We caught up with the players, saw a couple blasts from the past, and just enjoyed the general merriment.  The local 24-hour TV news station was running a story every half hour on the bar TV that just happened to have Jacob and me VERY clearly in the background during a player interview.  Lovely.  It reminded me of my TV hosting days when we'd be out after Knighthawks' games and the replay of my show would come on at the bar (on the same channel as the game) at midnight, and half the bar would do a double-take as they looked at the TV and back at me.  Awkward.

Anyway, we also got to do this:
This photo (taken by someone else) got quite a response on Facebook.  I guess people aren't used to seeing me drinking anything, let alone something that big.  Rest assured, though, there wasn't much champagne left in the bowl.  It was leaking out of the handles, and between the weight of the trophy and the angle it needed to be tipped at to get close enough to slurp, it was the most awkward drink ever!  Oh, and I didn't drink out of it last time, so this is my first-ever championship drink!
It was a pretty low-key celebration, with just enough odd randomness to make it the unique evening I'd expect for a championship celebration.  We were out until after 4am and didn't make it to bed until 5am, when it was just starting to get light!  We had to drive to Buffalo Sunday afternoon for our nephew's birthday party (dropping my mom off on the way), so we fit in as much sleep as we could and relied on adrenaline to get us the rest of the way.  I was tired by the end of yesterday and absolutely exhausted today.  I had to buy a 20 oz. Diet Mountain Dew around noon because I could barely keep my eyes open.  Still, it was all worth it.  We had a blast.

That said, this one was quite different than the last one.  The last one was my first real championship (by a team I really truly cared about), and after all of the losses that that core group of players had endured, that one was well-deserved.  It was a fantastic team that earned every win, and the championship was long overdue.  I had worked with all of the staff that made the trip, so there was a special family element to it all.  We were celebrating in paradise with a small, intimate group in the midst of a whirlwind fantasy weekend.  It was all surreal and is literally one of the most amazing times of my life.  This time around was so different.  We were at home, and the celebration included countless family members, friends, and fans.  The no-alcohol policy that had surrounded the team all year (especially following the fight in Minnesota that saw players get arrested) kept things a bit lower key than before.  This team wasn't nearly as successful as the last one (15-2 record vs. 7-9), but the team they beat was even worse (6-10), so it was an odd final to begin with.  I don't know as many of the faces on this team (as I said, the core of the last team had been intact for a long time and after working there, I knew most of them), so it wasn't quite as personal of a win.  However, this one was all about the fans, and honestly, that's who I was happiest to celebrate with at the end of the night.  Still, the improbable playoff run and the second-half comeback made this one special in its own way.  And as always, I'm so happy for Craig.  A championship is pretty much the best payoff you can get after a long, difficult season.  It was an unforgettable night, for sure.  There's nothing like winning the last game of the season, and I'm thrilled we got to experience it again. 

I'm also happy we got to share the experience with Jacob this time, and look forward to a couple more encounters with the cup soon.  The photo ops are endless!  Something to look forward to, for sure!  But until then, pardon me while I go marvel a little more at the fact that this all actually happened...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Where Things Stand

So, it's been a while since I gave a full baby #2 update and I suppose it's time.  Though not much has changed...but I suppose it's okay to know that, too.

We're pretty much past our self-imposed baby-making break. Assuming I got pregnant sometime soon, I'd be big by November's trip to Florida, but not unable to fly there and get around, so we're basically back to the safe zone.  However, I'd LOVE to get pregnant in August because it would set us up for a spring baby.  Not only could I enjoy potentially decent weather, but it wouldn't be crazy hot outside and we'd avoid the glut of birthdays and other assorted holidays we're getting into by this time of year.  Of course, given the problems we've had so far, it seems a little picky to pinpoint a time of year I'd like to have a baby, but that won't stop me from trying. 

I have an appointment in less than three weeks with a fertility doctor.  At this point it's more on the reproductive endocrinology side of things, where they'll hopefully check all my levels and see if they can figure out what's happening.  My cycle isn't exactly regular but it's not quite as crazy as it was a few months ago.  However, I'm darn-near convinced that I'm simply not ovulating.  It's possible to have a period without it, believe it or not, but based on repeated attempts at ovulation tests and never getting a positive, something seems off.  Additionally, a few months back my doctor checked my blood on day 18 of my cycle, and it indicated I hadn't ovulated.  However, my period came sooner than I would have expected based on that.  So perhaps it's just not happening.  If nothing else I'm hoping they can help track things a little better.  I'm also hoping there's a better solution than just popping some Clomid and praying that only one egg gets released.  Eeesh.

I had this random realization the other day.  You know how sometimes you hear about couples who try for years to have a baby, go through fertility treatments and lots of heartache, and then suddenly, randomly get pregnant?  My realization was, "What if getting pregnant with Jacob was our moment like that, and it just happened to take place more quickly?"  So basically, instead of having to wait years, our fortunate pregnancy happened fairly quickly...and that's as good as it will get.  What if that was our miraculous pregnancy?  That was a sobering realization, considering that most of this time I've assumed that even though it might not happen quickly, having had Jacob should indicate that the machinery can work.  But what if that was a super-lucky, one-in-a-million moment?  I'm obviously hoping that's not the case, but it's something to keep in the back of my mind.

On one hand, I'm desperate to have another baby. I'm dying to see Jacob with a sibling, and I'm craving a baby that snuggles and smiles and doesn't talk back.  I know that those moments won't last long and come with sleepless nights, endless worries, and poopy diapers, but I really want to do it all one more time with the perspective of a parent who's been there, hoping I'll enjoy it more this time around now that nerves won't be so prominent.  On the other hand, I'm getting more nervous.  I'll be nearly five years older than last time, with the added exhaustion of a crazy preschooler running around the house.  We're mostly done with diapers (just at night) and we have a fully communicative child that we can take almost anywhere.  We're facing a nearly five-year gap now, and when I see other people with kids that far apart, I often think, "Oh man, they finally made it out of the baby years and had to go back!"  One blogger I read right now has a six-year gap between her girls, and that seems SO long.  But then again, her older daughter is seriously the best big sister, always wanting to entertain the baby and read to her.  That sounds pretty cool.  It's hard for me to say if Jacob will have a hard time sharing the spotlight now that he's had it for so long, or if he'll be an awesome big brother because he's so grown up and will fall right into a teacher role.  I have no idea.

I'm still not quite one of the fertility-challenged women who gets bitter at the sight of a pregnant woman or a tiny baby, but I probably do stare a little too long in both circumstances.  A while back I sat behind a tiny baby at church and I sort of started to understand those people who say their uterus aches for another baby.  Yesterday at work we had a woman visiting our office who's about five months along.  I spent a good chunk of the meeting she was running staring at her belly, longing for one of my own.  It's not crazy jealousy or anything that renders me unable to act normally around such people, but it just adds a little layer of longing to those moments, a little sadness at the thought that it just might not happen again.  I have yet to decide what lengths I'm willing to go to to make this happen, but all we can do is keep trying and hope that my appointment gives us some help and insight into how we can best make this happen.  And when all else fails, we'll rest in the fact that God has a plan for all of this and His timing is far better than ours could ever be.  As nuts as Jacob can drive us on any given day, part of me is grateful that we have the time alone with him right now.  As he grows into a little person, it's easier to appreciate who he's becoming when we're not completely engrossed in another child (or planning for one).  This time is special and perhaps this is our opportunity to savor it.  In two weeks I'm running in the Chase Corporate Challenge, and I've been working my butt off training for it.  Last year at this time I thought I'd be pregnant for this year's race, so I guess this is a little bonus.  I'm taking full advantage and working toward running 3.5 miles in 30 minutes.  It's a tough challenge that I fight to achieve on a treadmill, but I can do it and hope to pull it off again on race day.  Maybe this is something I need to accomplish, to prove I can do it and give myself something to aim for someday when I'm working off another round of baby weight.  There are plenty of other possibilities as to why this is not God's perfect time, so in the meantime I'm hoping He's got the best plan ever on tap when the time comes.

So, yeah...that's where the baby business stands right now.  More to come soon...     

Mother's Day, Take 4

I can't believe it's taken me half the week to blog about Mother's Day.  Apparently it's been one of those weeks.  Craig's been busy preparing for the Knighthawks' championship game Saturday and the home opener Friday morning for the summer team he works for, the Hamilton Nationals.  In fact, he's at Knighthawks practice in Canada tonight and might be in Buffalo tomorrow night so he's got a short trip to Hamilton Friday morning.  Monday night I worked out and came home to playing catch-up after a weekend away.  Last night Craig mowed the lawn and I did some yardwork, along with more catching up after Jacob was in bed.  Tonight Jacob and I went grocery shopping, ate dinner, and shortly thereafter it was bedtime.  I was working on a couple little projects tonight before finally sitting down, and I need to blog quickly because I need to go to bed at a reasonable time.  I'm extra tired today.  Yawning has been downright painful.

Anyway, we had a good weekend.  Jacob and I headed to Buffalo on Friday night and spent all day Saturday with my parents.  I got to go for a run while Jacob wore my parents out playing a variety of sports in the yard.  He was totally cracking us up with his refereeing (he's got the moves down pat) and designating me as a cheerleader and requesting my presence to dance during halftime.  While he napped I went out shopping (finally got a pair of Nikes at the outlet in time to break them in before my race later this month), and when I got back he was down playing with a little girl down the street.  After that we went out for dinner and some shopping.  Jacob commandeered the free smoothie we got and gleefully had a sip of the mocha one we got, as well.  He always pretends he's drinking coffee, so why not give him a taste of the real stuff? 

As I mentioned in Saturday's post, the Knighthawks won in Toronto to win a spot in the NLL Finals.  Craig didn't get back to my parents' house until 2am, and prior to that I had a heck of a time sleeping.  I don't think I fell asleep until 3am, and then had a few minor wakeups--enough to really mess up my sleeping in time for a really busy day.  We headed off to church first thing, and while we were waiting for church to start, I pulled out the camera to capture Jacob looking extra handsome...aside from that nasty scab under his nose...
Big boy!
Then I took a picture of Jacob and Grandma...
Yay for a good smile!
Jacob begged to use my camera again, so I let him try to take a picture of my mom and me.  It's a little blurry again, but this was the best shot of both of us...

Church was only notable because I ended up participating.  During the children's message, the woman doing it called out some moms asking if they would still love their kids if they did any number of naughty, awful things...you know, ransacking the house or running off with coyotes.  And even though we're not there a lot--though she knows who we are, mostly because we visit her office every time we're there to say hi to her doggie, who she brings with her each week--she called out to me ("Jacob's mommy") to ask me if I would still love Jacob if he did some terrible things.  Of course I said yes, though she detected a bit of a laugh in my response.  In retrospect I would have noted that those things would make me extra sad because I love him so much...but alas, not that quick of a thinker.  Totally caught off-guard since I certainly wasn't expecting to participate!

After church we packed up and headed out to Craig's family's celebration, with a detour to Wegmans to pick up a bunch of fruit, some corn, and some flowers.  We had a fantastic meal and some good quality time with his family, though Jacob refused (yet again) to go in the pool (where most of his cousins spent most of their day).  Someday we'll get him in, but it's going to be quite the undertaking.  We need to force him, though, because he needs to learn to swim and enjoy our pool.  Near the end of the day he grabbed his lacrosse stuff to play with his big cousin Walt. 

Always on the run!

This picture cracked me up because Walt and Jacob are doing a faceoff, and little cousin Jackie was standing there like the referee, even though she had no idea that was the role she was playing.

Handsome little man.  That boy made me a mommy.
There was a possibility of heading back to NT that evening to treat my mom to Mother's Day ice cream (carrying on a bit of a tradition she had with her mom), but I knew it was possible that between a big meal and a long day, it might not make sense to go all the way back.  Sure enough, it didn't seem like a good idea.  I felt bad but she understood (and undoubtedly would rather know I'm driving home safely than risking being overtired), and I will make it up to her another time.  Because Craig had to drive to Toronto separately, we ended up having two cars heading back home that night.  I ate a ton and was working on very little sleep, so the drive home was a tough one.  I was very happy to be home, for sure.  And as I indicated, I've been playing catch-up ever since I walked in the door.

Overall, Mother's Day was busy but good, full but generally unremarkable.  We had a busy day full of food and family, but there wasn't really anything of note to make it extra special for me specifically--at least not along the lines of the usual Mother's Day pamperings.  As I've said before, we defer to our mothers at this point.  Someday perhaps it will be "my" day, but I'm not rushing it as I'm glad we have two moms to celebrate ourselves.  But it was a perfectly fine day, just not one that did any favors for my sleep deficit.  Speaking of which...off to bed I go, far too late, again.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

More Randomness

Have I mentioned that Jacob is growing like a weed?  I've pretty much taken to buying him 5T or Boys XS these days--though pants are still a crapshoot because he's tall and skinny.  Shorts are probably going to be 4Ts still, since they run long and his waist is tiny.  But everything else, as long as the waists are adjustable or the body isn't too wide, is at least 5T now.  Where did my baby go?  I can't even fathom that I'm almost to the point of passing by the baby section altogether!  It was a big switch when we were out of the tiny baby stuff, and now we're almost out of the baby stuff completely.  I can't even believe it. 

Jacob took a beating this week.  Wednesday I got a call in the afternoon that he he gotten kicked in the face while in a playground tunnel.  He had a little mark on the side of his nose near his eye.  That pretty much faded by the next morning, though.  Thursday I got a call that he bonked heads with another kid and had some pretty sizable marks.  Sure enough, he had a big mark on his forehead and a smaller mark under his nose.  The big mark faded overnight, but the mark under his nose has gotten progressively worse--to a dark red to scabbing over and crusty.  It's pretty nasty looking but it looks like it might be changing rapidly enough to heal relatively quickly.  It's just a challenge to get him to keep his hands off it!

Friday afternoon I left work early and went to Jacob's daycare for a Mother's Day Ice Cream Social.  It was pretty low key--just vanilla ice cream and sprinkles--and only a handful of other moms came, but it was nice nonetheless.  Jacob saw one of his friends using his mom's camera, and Jacob asked to use mine.  Given that we were sitting at a table I figured we were fairly safe and I coached him through it.  This was the first one he took.  Unfortunately they got worse from here, but...
Not a bad picture of me, actually :)
He also got to give me his Mother's Day gift:
In case it's hard to see, there's a little clay pot with colored tissue paper "soil", a pipe cleaner stem, and a handprint flower.  The bag had a nice handprint poem on it.  Jacob laughed when I made the hand wave.
 I tried to get him to pose with it, but it didn't go well.  This was probably the best I got...

Tonight was a big night--the Knighthawks won their second round playoff game, against all odds, and are headed to the NLL Finals next weekend!  They hadn't beat Toronto in years, and had never won in Toronto in the playoffs, yet they beat them tonight.  Part of me wishes I had gone, but I know that it would have been too complicated to take Jacob and going without him would have been tough, too.  When I do stuff like that I always feel a little like an irresponsible parent.  Still, the championship game is a different story--I already priced out a flight to Minnesota, but as of now it's a little too expensive, particularly considering I had the trip of a lifetime the last time they were in the finals.  Of course, if the team that's winning the other semifinal game right now (12-2!) continues to win, the game will be in Rochester!  Good news, bad news, I guess--a home game against a hot team.  It's been a long time since the Knighthawks were in this situation (their championship win was five years ago today), so it's exciting, but it's going to make me a bundle of nerves and Craig a ball of stress for the next week.  The opportunity to win is always awesome, though!  Perhaps now that I don't work there and we've actually won one that I was present for, my perspective will be a little different.  I can always say I've seen them win, and it was amazing. 

Since it was five years ago today, here's a sampling of some of my favorite shots from the trip, the infamous "best $450 I ever spent": 

Outside the hotel in Phoenix--quite the sight to see for a Rochesterian in the middle of May!  It was in the 90s when we were there!

Some of the cool foliage outside the hotel...saw a cactus later, too!

The boys raising the Cup on the turf.  It was amazing to be down there.  Of course, most of my pics from those first few minutes were blurry because a) everyone was moving a lot; and b) my hands were shaking so bad from nerves and excitement!

Craig rushed down to the turf as soon as he could.  I love this picture and it's still the first picture on the memory card in our old camera, the one Craig now carts around with him.

In the locker room after the game.  After watching years of Stanley Cup celebrations on TV, it was surreal to be in there.  Lots of champagne and beer all over that room, let me tell you.

Craig and me outside the locker room...I never did drink out of the Cup (felt weird since I wasn't an employee), but it felt great to hold it knowing Craig was finally getting his ring.
One of the best players in the world, John Grant, sitting poolside with the trophy.  The mere fact we could sit poolside with the trophy still blows my mind.  The weather was perfect, and everyone was so happy.  It was such an amazing feeling to be there.

I'm the farthest thing from a Captain Morgan drinker, but this is proof of just how much fun we were having that day.  It just seemed like a good photo op...and yes, I was a little tipsy, but sober enough to know it was silly.

My favorite Knighthawk of all time, Pat O'Toole--and a guy I was beyond happy to see win.  He'd suffered through enough tough losses as a Knighthawk that this one was well-deserved.

The next morning in the hotel lobby.  Everyone was eating breakfast and waiting for the bus to the airport, and I found the scene of this random but coveted trophy sitting among the bags to be quite comical.  The fact it was coming home with us (well, them...I was on a separate flight) was still unbelievable. 
Thanks for indulging me.  I recently admitted on Facebook that that weekend beats out my wedding day and the day Jacob was born as the most amazing experience of my life.  My wedding was awesome and I wouldn't change a thing (well, maybe a couple things), but it was one great day in the midst of a long life together.  Jacob's arrival was life-changing, of course, but the pain and stress surrounding that event didn't make it particularly enjoyable.  Special, yes...enjoyable, not really.  The championship weekend involved such unique circumstances--a last-minute decision, my first solo plane ride, a trip to an exotic place (well, compared to here), and a long-awaited celebration of a lifetime--that it's tough to top.  And five years ago right now, I was in the midst of it.  Wow.  Let's hope we can add another happy chapter to that one next weekend...

And before I forget, Happy Mother's Day to the other mamas out there!  Hope you have the wonderful day you deserve, for all that you do all year long!