Sunday, August 26, 2012

Baseball Weekend

The past few weekends have been busy.  Heck, pretty much every summer weekend has been busy.  It seems like we've been on the road most of the summer.  Sometimes I wonder why we bother keeping our pool.  I can't remember the last time we were in it for fun.  Part of that is laziness and the shorter days, not to mention Jacob's desire to play sports after dinner, but add in Craig being on the road most weekends for work and us being in Buffalo or elsewhere much of the time, there just isn't a lot of downtime.  Even the staycation I was pondering most of the summer never happened, partly because of work schedules and partly because there just wasn't a major motivator.  It's been a weird summer, to say the least. 

Sometimes I get to this point of the summer and feel like we "failed" summer.  The summer bucket list is still heavily populated and Labor Day is right around the corner.  Yet I look at my photo folder and see hundreds of pictures, so I know we did something this summer.  But something doesn't necessarily mean that we accomplished a lot of what we originally wanted to do.  Usually baseball is a big part of our summer, and we'd only been to a few games this summer.  I think the boys went to one or two games without me, mostly for Craig's player appearances for work.  Beyond that, we went to one baseball game here in town (not even the Red Wings, but the Yankees' affiliate, who played a bunch of games here this summer due to stadium renovations at their home park), and one game in Cooperstown. 

A few weeks ago my office decided to ditch our annual picnic and opt for a Red Wings game instead, complete with a picnic spread pregame.  At least I knew that meant we'd get to one game this summer.  Then a couple weeks ago, Craig was scouting out Buffalo Bisons games, since we'd been trying to get to a game there for the last few years.  We hadn't been to a game there since Jacob was two, but it seems like longer than that.  He found out that Saturday's game was a big night celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Bisons' stadium.  Tickets were only $5, so it seemed like a good choice.  In the end I agreed to make yet another trip to Buffalo to go to the game, if we came home early-ish on Sunday.  I just haven't had much weekend time at home to get things done (yardwork, for one...but the flurry of tasks on a Sunday night after a trip to Buffalo--laundry, newspaper reading, etc.--always sets me behind for the rest of the week), and I needed a little time to handle all of that for a change. 

Friday night we headed out to the ballpark here in town to watch the Red Wings take on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, whose stadium we visited last summer on our big vacation.  It was a beautiful night, the picnic food was great, and it was fun to see some of my co-workers' families.  The Red Wings were terrible, but we still had a nice time.  The funny part of the night was that Jacob told us that afternoon after daycare that one of his daycare buddies would be at the game, too.  While we were there, Jacob kept asking to go find him.  There were thousands of people there, so we kept pushing the request off a bit.  At one point I was saying, "Jacob, there's a lot of people here and the odds of finding him are slim..." and before I could even finish my sentence I looked over, and said, "Oh, wait, there they are."  Sure enough, they were sitting a couple sections over from us.  We ended up almost missing them since they left just as we were heading over, but we caught them in the tunnel heading out of the stadium.  The boys were shy, but it was nice to chat briefly with Jacob's buddy's parents (his mom was the one I chatted with a bit at the birthday party a few weeks back). 

I only took one picture at the game, one of Jacob with this new statue in the stadium...
It was nice to sleep in our own beds again on a Friday night, and we slept in and had a relaxing start to the morning...until we realized we really needed to get packed up quickly so we could make it to Buffalo on time.  We were planning on meeting up with Craig's whole family and checking out the Naval park in downtown Buffalo.  They've done a ton of work there and we hadn't seen it all, so it sounded like a fun pregame activity. 

There were a ton of military pieces there--planes, tanks, giant ships, and even a submarine.  We didn't have time to go to the museum or go aboard the ships, so we just walked around to look at everything and pay our respects at the various memorial monuments.
Here's Jacob touching part of what we think was a submarine...
And here's a look down the line at some of the ships...

It was a warm 90 degree day, so we took a bit of a detour down the way to grab some beverages and snacks.  Jacob opted for some chocolate soft serve and ended up adorably messy (well, until it got really messy and then I got a little extra annoyed, but I blame the heat!).   
He thought it was hilarious that he had a "goatee", and thought he looked like General Custer from Night at the Museum 2.  He's been talking about being him for Halloween, so I guess he thought it was extra funny...hence the big smile!
We eventually got to the game and settled in.  We had great seats, and the kids took advantage by running down to the backstop and trying to high five the mascots.  Jacob's on the right with the red hat and shirt.
Gotta love Buster and Chip!
At one point I got up to go get my fried bologna (a Buffalo specialty) and snapped this picture on my way out.  I love this stadium dearly because I spent one of my best summers ever there (1999) as a Bisons intern.  It was the internship that gave me an extra leg up on getting my Amerks internship (as hired by Craig), and I had a blast and made a couple good friends.  It was a fantastic summer, and being back at the ballpark definitely made me reminisce about the good ol' days.  It didn't hurt, of course, that it was the ballpark's 25th anniversary celebration so there were plenty of references to the past...
Another gorgeous night full of many good memories...
After our enjoyment of the pierogy race in Pittsburgh, we were happy to see that Buffalo has a race of its own--the Wing, Cheese & Celery Race!  It's a chicken wing, atomic wing, cup of bleu cheese, and a stalk of celery racing against each other.  The celery has never won.  Ever.  The celery was winning for part of our race, but the atomic wing cheated and knocked him down.  Here's a shot from right before the takedown...

While I enjoyed the night as a whole, I won't lie--Jacob was an absolute pain.  He didn't want real food for dinner after his ice cream, just snacks (not really my choice to get the ice cream, by the way--peer pressure!).  He kept asking for souvenirs, constantly asked for water, and was rather difficult during a trip to the bathroom.  He just tends to wander off and want to do something pointless and generally on the stupid side (sorry, I'm at a loss to think of a more diplomatic term...he just always wants to fiddle with something or dig in the dirt or touch something that's most definitely germy and gross, and it gets old fast.  He almost kicked a woman in the bathroom doing random high kicks.  Ugh!).  I was completely out of patience by the end of the night.

He did seem to chill out a bit by the end of the game, thankfully.  Of course, fireworks loomed.  All weekend (and, really, all summer) he'd been talking about avoiding fireworks after the game.  He's got this random phobia of fireworks, mostly because of the noise.  No matter how many times we told him we could cover his ears and keep him safe, he remained unconvinced.  However, we were all staying for the postgame fireworks, so he had no choice.  The fireworks were awesome, and for the most part they weren't that loud.  He really ended up liking them, and I only covered his ears once during the display when a series of big booms started.  The fact that he did so well was pretty awesome, and once again, Mommy and Daddy were right--give them a chance and you might actually like them!  I even had a chance to snap a few firework pictures, and I like this one...

We had another nice sleep-in this morning and headed back home around lunch time today.  We had some quiet downtime this afternoon.  To his credit, Jacob played nicely with Legos for a good couple hours!  After a low-key dinner I headed out for some much-needed hedge trimming (yuck) and the boys played some baseball.  I got a couple loads of laundry done, along with some dishes, plus I caught up on mail and newspapers.  Not a bad list for the day.  Finally.  Of course, it's a good thing I got a lot done, because I'm flying solo this week.  Craig is leaving tomorrow for a few days in Vegas for work, so it'll just be me and Jacob until Thursday evening.  The good news is that I have a couple four-day work weeks in a row, bookending a four-day weekend.  I'm taking off my birthday on Friday, then have Labor Day off on Monday.  That will be nice, but I have a busy week to get through before that.  But at least we had a fun weekend to start us out on a good note...

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