Friday, May 31, 2013

Let the Comparisons Begin...

One of my biggest worries about having a second boy was the inevitable comparisons.  When you have kids of different genders, it's a little easier to not assume that your kids will be similar.  But when you have two of the same, I think the default assumption is that things may progress the same.  For example, I can't imagine that Carter won't be obsessed with sports after spending his first few years idolizing his sports-crazed big brother.  I know that every child is different, but genes are funny things so it wouldn't surprise me if the boys end up with either a lot of similarities or that they're polar opposites.  Already everyone wonders if the boys look alike.  For the record, they make certain faces that look similar but I don't think that they look as much alike as I expected. 
 
The other day I was looking through pictures of Jacob at the age Carter is now.  I was surprised to notice that Jacob was fully pushing himself up on his arms when he was on his belly.  
 
 
While Carter's head and neck control are way better than they used to be, tummy time still isn't his favorite thing.  He can barely lift up his head or get his arms under him.  He does kick his legs like crazy, though, and tries to get them under himself, almost like he's trying to crawl.  I'll definitely give Carter an extra week and a half since he was a week and a half earlier than Jacob was, but I was really surprised at the difference.  Carter is certainly strong and I don't think there should be any concern about him physically, but it's hard not to think about where Jacob was at this point and wonder if there's any significance.  Sometimes I think Carter is way chattier than Jacob was at this age, because I feel like I was always concerned about how many noises Jacob was making in comparison to what the articles I read were saying he should be doing.  But maybe I was just way more neurotic about things back then, and perhaps I am totally wrong about who "talked" more.  But it wouldn't surprise me if I was right and it was just an early sign of the differences between the boys.   

I guess this is why it is so fascinating to have a second (or third or fourth) child, because you never really know what you're going to get.  That can also be super scary, but it is fascinating to watch your kids grow up, and I'm finding it much more interesting this time around, now that I have some perspective on the experience.  Being able to look back at pictures and then look at the big boy we have now, it's amazing to see the progression and realize a) how fast it all happens; b) how much he's changed; and c) how the baby version of Jacob has little hints of the big boy that was to come.  I can't wait to see how Carter goes through that same progression, but then again, I am really enjoying this stage right now.  I am savoring having a child that doesn't talk back, doesn't disobey, and willingly gives me giant smiles on a regular basis.  But I know how fun it is to watch your child grow, change, and learn.  I can't wait for Carter to play with toys, sit up, and experience his first Christmas.  I look forward to watching him learn to crawl, smash his first birthday cake, take his first steps, and to finally hear what's running through that mind of his.  The older he gets, the more eager I am to get to know him better.  Of course, I also know that the sweet little baby in Jacob's old pictures can turn into a difficult, frustrating child five years later, so I'm not rushing things, but I guess that's the beauty of having a second child: the chance to do it better the second time around.

How that goes remains to be seen, but I definitely find this blog and my treasure trove of photos to be an interesting reference, and--for better of for worse--fodder for comparisons for years to come.  Sorry, Carter.  But it's going to be an interesting ride.

In the meantime, check out these pictures of Jacob from right around the same period as the picture above.  He's maybe a week older than Carter is now.  I just love the sweet smirk on Jacob's face in the first picture, and I adore the second one where it looks like Craig and Jacob are having an intense conversation...   


Amazing, isn't it?  How is that baby turning five in three weeks?  Sigh.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Battle of the Bulge

My gym instructor was right.

Five years ago, when I was pregnant with Jacob and still going to my class at the gym, I had expressed concern about getting back in pre-pregnancy shape after the baby was born.  The instructor told me that I'd snap right back into shape after the first one.  It was the second baby I should worry about.  Turns out, she was right.

Maybe I'm just being too hard on myself, but I feel like things are different this time.  Last time I had a great ego boost a couple months postpartum when I was in my friend's wedding.  The dress looked fantastic on me and hid every problem area, and no one could believe I had a baby a couple months earlier. 

This time I was getting a ton of compliments for the first month or so.  Indeed, I did lose a lot of weight rather quickly.  Things weren't necessarily fitting, mind you, but given the amount of time that had passed it was perfectly acceptable and I was happy with how things were progressing.  And then I stopped breastfeeding.  And for the last two months, it seems like I've been at a stand-still.  I thought that getting back in the gym would help, but I only work out once or twice a week.  I'm still trying to relearn good eating habits since I spent nine months plus six weeks eating what I wanted, and I expected I'd have another year to continue that trend.  But no...my 300-500 extra calories per day evaporated with Carter's cow's milk protein intolerance, and I think my body and mind are still in shock that I can't eat whatever I want whenever I want.  I shouldn't cheat.  One snack per evening is enough.  Second helpings at dinner should be avoided.  The collection of sweets and cookies on my counter probably shouldn't be there, but if I'm having a craving I need something or else I'll go nuts eating other things trying to satisfy the craving.  It's so hard to not eat.

On top of that, I'm also fighting whatever weight birth control tends to keep on, but I don't have much of a choice there at this point because the pill keeps my borderline-polycystic ovary syndrome in check.  It's hard to know for sure, but I think birth control has always kept a few extra pounds on me.

I'm only up about five pounds, but I know nothing is quite where it used to be.  I can button up most of my jeans, but I have a terrible muffin top and I'm pretty sure everything is tighter in the hips.  I have a belly, particularly above my belly button, that won't go away.  I can try to suck it in, which works to some degree, but I'm finding it very difficult to remember to suck it in.  I guess I'm just out of practice, so it's hard to remember to do it all the time.  In some of my clothes I look nearly normal, but there are plenty of others that I can't go anywhere near.  Oh, and my chest has shrunken down, as well, which sort of makes the rest of me look proportionately thicker than I used to.  I tried on some dresses tonight and couldn't believe how bad they made me look.

While looking at myself minus clothes is not my favorite thing in the world, it's really just an issue because my clothes don't fit.  So many of them are too tight or too short for the belly, so it's limiting what I can wear.  I'm stuck in a weird spot where I don't want to go out and buy new clothes because there's a chance things will settle a bit in the next few months, but where it stinks right now because nothing fits.  I don't want to buy stuff that might be big in a few months, but I also don't want to deceive myself into thinking that it will go away, only to be disappointed and realize I spent months without a functional wardrobe hoping for something that was never going to happen.  For example, after my pregnancy experience with skinny jeans, I'd love to try again to get a pair.  But I can't do it now because I'm heavier than I want to be.  But what happens if I wait months and I'm still no thinner...what then? 

I know that they say, "Nine months on, nine months off," but breastfeeding spoiled me last time and it's bugging me to not know how much of this is permanent vs. temporary body change.  I know that I exchanged my old body for the greatest little boy I could ask for, and that's fine.  I just want to fit in some clothes in the meantime. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Four-Day Weekend

I spent pretty much the entire month of May looking forward to Memorial Day weekend, knowing it was a four-day weekend for us.  Nothing is better than extended time off, and ours would be capped with a trip to Toronto for a baseball game.  While the weekend as a whole was fine, the final day was a bit challenging and in the end the weekend felt more exhausting than enjoyable.  Bummer.  But there were good parts...

Friday night I spent the entire night just trying to get packed up for the weekend.  Four days away is a lot with two kids and one car, so it's a tough balance to make sure you've packed enough without overpacking.  Saturday morning I finished packing the last minute stuff and whipped up some food to take to family party #1 of the day, a Memorial Day picnic at my aunt and uncle's house here in Rochester.  We could only stay for a couple hours, but it was great to see my family, including some we hadn't seen in a while.  It's always fun to share Carter and give everyone their baby fix! 

We headed out by about 3pm and made the drive to Craig's family's neck of the woods for our nephew's birthday party.  I can't believe he's seven, since I vividly remember going to visit them in the hospital.  But here we are, seven years and multiple kids later (two of my own, and one more in their family).  Like Jacob, both of his immediate older cousins are into Legos.  Here was the easy but creative cake decoration...
Yes, those are Lego minifigures holding "Happy Birthday" candles!

As usual, Jacob spent the day wanting to play baseball outside with his cousins (and Daddy, too, of course). Even though he was being difficult when I was trying to take this picture, I still like how it turned out...

Saturday was a very long day and we were all pretty eager to get to bed.  Sleeping four people in one room wasn't particularly fun, especially since Carter still has a nasty cough.  He woke up a couple times, as did Jacob, but all things considered it wasn't as bad as it could have been.  I was up half the night, mind you, but at least it wasn't with a screaming baby the whole time.  It was just my inability to block out everything, with a side of crying baby.

The next morning we got up and headed out to our niece's softball tournament.  We got there in time to see them completely destroy the other team to make it to the final.  I got this picture of Jacob and his big cousin Walt (who had a game later in the day) watching the game...

It was a cool morning, but it was sunny, which presented a tough situation as far as Carter was concerned.  I had to either leave him in his seat, or bring him out and cover him up completely since he's still too young for sunscreen and it was awfully chilly out.  He was super cranky in between a couple short naps, and eventually I just had to leave the boys there and head back to the house.  We both took a nice, long nap.  He woke up a happier baby, for sure...

Jacob, however, was being difficult, and eventually we decided we were going to head to my parents' house on Sunday night.  We figured it would be easier than having to wake up, pack up, and head out Monday morning, effectively killing half the day, so we took off a little before bedtime and got there in time to get both boys ready for bed and relax a bit ourselves.

Monday morning I got in a run, and at lunchtime we headed over to my aunt and uncle's, where my parents were helping get my uncle's garden up and running, since his health has prevented him from doing it himself.  It was a lovely day, and we stopped at a ball diamond to get Jacob some practice, since he asks for it constantly.  This diamond was across a field from the playground (and public pool) of my youth, though the pool is gone and the playground is a shadow of its former self.  Still, Jacob loved his time on the field...

We had taken Tuesday off to complete our four-day weekend because we had free tickets to see the Atlanta Braves play the Toronto Blue Jays up in Toronto.  Carter stayed with my parents for the day, which ended up being an even better move than I had imagined it would be.  It ended up being a very long, very trying day.  It started out well enough, I guess.

Jacob had never been to a Jays game and we hadn't been there since a horrible, 90-degree game we went to years ago, when we were beyond annoyed by the fact that they opened the dome.  We also thought they had a weird policy that strands 500-Level ticketholders up top, but based on what I saw yesterday, perhaps we just kept ending up in the wrong spot last time.  We were able to freely walk this time, so regardless, it's not an issue now.  The weather ended up being yucky--50s and rainy--which meant that random walking would be kept to a minimum, but the dome stayed closed and climate-controlled, which is not a bad thing.  Our seats were really high up, but I still think we had a good view.  I'd rather be high up than have a head blocking my view of the plate.

Early on during the game, Jacob was BRUTAL.  We were ready to get up and come back home.  He was freaking out about the littlest things, and just being generally cranky.  I don't know if it was a sleep thing, a blood sugar thing, or just his normal behavior coming out at a really inopportune time, but I'm really starting to think that maybe we need to get him evaluated before Kindergarten, just to see if there's anything we can do to help him through his unnecessary freak-outs.  As an example, he was complaining his ear hurt.  He was freaking out about it, yelling and everything.  We thought it might have something to do with some sunburn he got on Sunday, so Craig suggested putting cream on it.  I didn't have my normal lotion, but I did have sunscreen, so I went to put it on.  When I rubbed it in, he yelled at me that I hurt him, and said I did it on purpose.  More yelling.  Basically, I can't win.  If I don't put it on, I'm not helping him, and if I do put it on, I'm hurting him.  He was overreacting by a long shot, and it's moments like that where we're at a loss.

After we ate he seemed to get better, though he never really looked like he was having fun.  Even here, he's so serious...

Later in the game we got up to walk around the main concourse, and we stopped near the end of the game near the Braves bullpen, with a nice view of the outfield.

A nice woman offered to take our picture, which was great, even if Jacob wasn't particularly smiley...
I do like the picture, but it feels a little incomplete without Carter, you know?
 The Braves ended up winning in 10 innings, which was great, but it did put us a little behind.  On top of that, we had a walk back to our car and we wanted to stop in the Leafs/Raptors store, which was in the same building we parked in.  Jacob ended up with a stuffed Raptor, which is an early birthday gift.  He loves it, but the last thing he needed was another animal!  Unfortunately, we then ended up getting stuck in the parking ramp for over an hour!  We're still not sure why, but it seemed to be a combination of the end of game traffic, the beginning of rush hour traffic, and possibly some issue with the ticket machine getting out of the ramp.  It was awful.  Because of that and the delay putting us right in the middle of rush hour traffic, we couldn't stop at IKEA on the way back for some very specific browsing, nor could we stop for any sort of decent dinner.  The trip back was rainy and miserable.  Jacob fell asleep, which meant he was up extra late.  We got back at an awkward time for Carter's bedtime routine, but fortunately we managed and got home around 11pm.  It made for a very long day.

Had I known how the day would go, I might have opted to save that vacation day or take it and do things at home.  It would have been a heck of a lot less frustrating and far more productive.  But we couldn't really predict all the issues we'd have, and we did have a couple good hours in there.  But it was disappointing.  And now I'm more tired and farther behind than I was before.  It's a bummer when something like that doesn't seem worth it--and it doesn't happen often--but what can you do?

Summer is now upon us and Jacob's birthday is just a few weeks away.  He graduates preschool next Friday.  Carter is getting bigger by the day, making lots of cute noises, starting to laugh, and melting hearts at every turn.  Time is just flying by!  I feel like I'm too busy to truly appreciate it, but at least this time around I'm aware that I'm too busy to appreciate it.  I think last time I was too preoccupied with everything to notice, but this time I know and I'm doing my best to savor whatever moments I can.  At least I only have a three-day week now and only have to make it a couple more days before I get quality time with the boys again...but I'm on my own for the weekend, so wish me luck!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sad and Happy

Three things that made me sad this week:

1) A colleague of Craig's who works for another team lost his four-year-old son last week, suddenly.  We don't know what happened beyond that it happened when they were traveling back from a trip, but by all accounts he seemed healthy prior.  It's absolutely heartbreaking, and as parents of a four-year-old ourselves, not knowing what happened is sort of driving us nuts.  It's almost like we need to know what unknown threat to four-year-olds might be floating around out there.  I just can't imagine a lively four-year-old being silenced out of the blue like that.  So sad. 

2) I saw a story this week about a little boy with an affliction that doesn't allow him to smile.  It's a neurological condition that impacts the muscles in the face, and as a result, he cannot form a smile.  He's a year old now, and while there's a surgery that helps correct it, he can't have it until he's five.  His parents can tell if he's happy by the sounds he makes and by the look in his eyes, but it must be so heartbreaking to never have seen your child look truly happy.  On the surface it sounds so sad, but when you really think about it, it's so horrible.  I think how happy it made me to have Carter start smiling, and how happy it makes me each time he smiles.  I can't imagine living without that.  To never have a picture of your child looking happy, to never get that validation of their joy, to know that you have five years of that before a surgery could fix it...ugh.  The parents seem to have a great attitude about it, but what a sad problem to be born with.

3) Carter is sick.  He's got a cold of some sort, and the cough is absolutely horrible.  He started last weekend with congestion and a slight runny nose.  He seemed better on his Christening day, but by the time I got home Tuesday night (more on that in a bit), his cough had taken a turn for the worse and sounded so horrible.  It's continued since, and pains me every time it happens.  I called the doctor who said that if his fever stayed low (it never went above 100), there was no need to bring him in.  There probably isn't much they can do for him if it's just a cold anyway.  I worry that maybe it'll cause him some respiratory problems, so if the cough keeps up or we notice any serious wheezing, we'll have to get him in.  If it was RSV or something, it could probably stick around for a while, which will be sad.  We did that with Jacob when he was two months old and got bronchiolitis.  He had a cough for nine months, made worse by acid reflux.  I'm hoping we don't have to deal with that with Carter.  Once was tough enough.

On the flip side, here are three things that made me happy:

1) I taught Jacob how to play "War" this week.  I got a deck of cards from work (swag from a publisher) and brought it home.  I showed Jacob a card trick that my grandpa taught me years ago--possibly 20 years ago!--then had the brainstorm to teach him "War".  He knows his numbers and it was an easy game to play with Carter on my lap, so off we went.  He loved it!  We played again the next night, and then he played with Craig last night and his cousin Anna today.  It was so cute how much he enjoyed it.  I love being able to engage him like that, which doesn't happen often with me.  Such a simple thing!

2) I ran the Corporate Challenge this past Tuesday, and did it pretty well.  It was my goal to run it after Carter was born, but I only had a month and a half to get ready for it once I was cleared to work out.  I didn't quite get to train for it like I did last year when my goal was to run it in 30 minutes, but I got a few runs in and they went pretty well considering how much time I had taken off.  This time around my goal was initially just to run it, then to run it in a respectable time (say, less than 35 minutes, which would be a 10 minute mile).  I was averaging a little better than that, so I was hopeful.  I ran with the girl who runs the gym and who teaches my Tuesday class.  We were nervous about it because it was a very hot day and there was a threat of rain.  The heat was a major concern, but fortunately as we were lining up a cool breeze began.  It was still hot, but it was better.  We managed to finish (my time was 32:25, somewhere just above a nine minute mile pace) and enjoy some snacks before we looked in the distance and noticed very dark clouds rolling in.  People consulted their phones and there was a big blob on the radar so we packed up quickly.  We hopped in the truck to go back to our cars just as it really started to rain.  It absolutely poured but we avoided the worst of it.  It felt great to finish the race, particularly since running in heat is not my forte and I just had a baby three months ago.  It was a nice accomplishment and a fun night out for mama.  Of course, I came back to two awake kids, including one sick baby.  Craig wasn't feeling good either, so everything was in a little bit of chaos.  I guess that's why I don't go out a lot!  But it was a fun night regardless.

3) We had a good day today.  We got to do two family parties--one in Rochester with my family for Memorial Day, and another with Craig's family in Buffalo for our nephew's birthday.  It was fun to see everyone and give everyone their dose of Carter.  He's still tiny enough that everyone loves holding him, and his smiles are a big hit.  We ate a lot of great food and enjoyed so much good company.  It was a very full day and I really should be in bed right now, but it's nice to have a few minutes to look back on the week.  We have a busy rest of our long weekend ahead, including a trip to Toronto (minus Carter, who's hanging with my parents) to see the Braves play the Blue Jays.  While I have a million things I'd love to be doing at home, I also love weekends like this that are full of family time and a little adventure.  It should be a lot of fun.

Bonus random side note: On the list of things to be thankful for is that I wasn't in Seattle two weeks later than I was.  Did you see the news story on Thursday night/Friday morning about the bridge that collapsed along I-5 outside Seattle?  I crossed that bridge twice when I was there two weeks ago.  I remember it vividly because it was a relatively low clearance bridge with a unique squared-off steel structure.  I'd never seen anything like it, so it definitely stood out in my mind.  Apparently an oversized load truck hit it somehow and it collapsed into a river.  No one was killed but a couple cars did go into the river and a few people were injured.  It happened one day shy of two weeks after I crossed it, almost to the hour.  How scary!  Perhaps it's something like that that worried me about taking a trip like that...something random and unexpected.  Thankfully I came out unscathed and the trip went nearly as well as it possibly could have.  I certainly appreciate the adventure I had and have been enjoying my memories (and pictures) ever since.  As a mom I'm glad I did it...because those opportunities are few and far between, and if you don't take them when you have the chance, you end up resenting your situation later on.  A little adventure can go a long way toward a happy mama!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I can't even...

I mentioned last month that all of the horrible things that had been going on in the world--namely the Boston Marathon bombings and the fertilizer factory explosion in Texas last month, and the Newtown shooting back in December--really made me appreciate all of our blessings and reminded me not to take any moment for granted.  Yesterday a tornado hit just outside of Oklahoma City.  The storm was particularly devastating because it scored a direct hit on two schools, pretty much completely destroying at least one.  So far they're reporting twenty kids have died. 

Newtown was horrific for so many reasons.  It was such a random, senseless act.  It involved very young children.  It was so incredibly violent.  Those parents sent their kids off to seemingly the safest place for them, and they ended up dead.  Everything about it was simply shocking.  But it was such an isolated, random occurrence.  On one hand the randomness was comforting because you knew that the odds of it happening to you were slim...but on the other hand it was a reminder than random things can happen to anyone at any time.

Yesterday's tornado was equally devastating but yet so different.  I want to say it was more relatable, if nothing else.  While we don't get tornadoes too often around here, it's not impossible.  Having something like that happen around here may be about the same odds as a gunman walking into the specific school that your kids attend, but I'd have to say that because it was a natural disaster, it feels a little more relatable because something else could happen that would involve destruction along those lines--a fire, explosion, or storm.  It just seems more plausible than a gunman, you know?  In addition, the damage there obviously went beyond the bounds of the school--the whole community was destroyed.  It just makes you think about how you'd manage if you were in a situation like that.  I think I'd fail miserably, by the way, but it makes you think long and hard nonetheless.

There are two things about this disaster that keep nagging at me.  First, of course, is that those kids were at school when it happened.  Again, you think of school as a safe place, and those kids ended up crushed under the very building in which they spent their days learning.  As many other people have said, I hope it was quick and painless for them.  To think that your child's last moments were scary and/or painful...ugh.  As a parent it would pain me to know I couldn't be with my child and protect them during the scariest moment of their life.  I also can't imagine the torture of being a parent who had to get to that school to find out the fate of their kids.  I'm sure getting there was nearly impossible due to the damage, and then to get there and see how bad it really was...my heart breaks for those whose kids never emerged.  I think about that a lot, that if something ever happened here, I'm all the way downtown while the kids are up in Greece.  It's a 15-20 minute car ride on a regular day, and I can't imagine how awful it would be if I simply couldn't get there...or how long those 15-20 minutes would feel on a normal day if I had to get there fast for an isolated incident. 

Less than two years ago there was a small fire in the boiler room of the church building where the kids' daycare is housed.  It happened during naptime and Jacob still talks about it.  He doesn't seem particularly traumatized, but that he remembers bothers me a bit.  They basically all had to get up and out immediately, and they did.  The fire didn't do any damage to the daycare (and I think any damage to the church was contained to that room), but upon hearing the story at the end of the day, I was definitely thankful that it was a minor incident and their evacuation plan worked well.  Once in a while you hear about fires or intruders at daycares, and I can only imagine how awful it is for parents to make their way there not knowing the fate of their child.  There are only so many teachers with so many arms and hands, you know?  Heck, I think about my limited arms and hands when I'm home alone with the kids overnight.  When it was just Jacob it seemed manageable, but now with two there's the thought of which one you go to first and how you'd get them both out if you had to. 

The other thing that bothers me is how you function through a disaster like that with kids.  I can only imagine the emotional scars the survivors will carry around from their experience in the school, but I'm sure some of them also no longer have a home to go back to.  Their entire world has been destroyed.  From a parent perspective it has to be so hard to function on a practical level.  How do you make sure your family is fed and clothed?  Where can you go so everyone can try to get some sleep?  Where do you get diapers or formula?  But on an emotional level, I can't even imagine.  Knowing that everything is gone--every keepsake, every picture, every toy--I can't even imagine how you begin to give you or your kids any sense of stability and normalcy after that.  I can only imagine the nightmares and separation anxiety they must deal with, or the cries because beloved toys are gone forever.  It has to be so hard to explain to your child that your home just isn't there anymore.  I just don't know how you ever convince them (and yourself) that things will be okay again. 

I suppose it's that element that I relate to more than anything, because a house fire or some other random event (plenty of houses around here have been hit by vehicles, for example) could leave us in the same situation, minus the community in chaos.  Jacob gets emotional about so many little details, so I can't even imagine how he'd react if his Legos were gone or he didn't have his million stuffed animals to cuddle.  I can't begin to think of how we'd talk him down from that, since our nerves would be frayed as well.  And now with a new baby, I know I would be crazy just trying to make sure we have what we need for him, just to make sure he stays healthy. 

I just feel so badly for everyone that has been affected.  I feel like I can't do much but pray, which doesn't feel like a lot.  It's just so horrible, but hopefully God can work some big miracles for those folks...fast.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Catching Up with Jacob

One month from today, Jacob turns five.  FIVE.  I've been documenting his life for nearly five years, and it absolutely boggles my mind that we've come this far.  Kindergarten seemed a lifetime away when he was a baby, and now it's just a few months away.  He's this big, gangly kid.  He's super skinny, because he's too active to keep any meat on his bones.  Something happened in the six months or so while I was too pregnant to lift him, where he's now suddenly almost impossible for me to carry.  He still loves sports more than anything else, and he's very serious about them...right down to his baseball cleats and soccer shin guards.  His imagination runs wild these days when he's playing with his toys--he loves his Legos, Playmobil guys, and his hockey guys.  He's got a giant independent/defiant streak.  He's always known how he wants things to be and will accept nothing else.  Morning arguments about clothes happen almost daily, mostly because he always wants sports pants or shorts and the available ones never seem to match the shirt featuring the sport he wants.  He's big on drama and asks a million questions.  He suddenly loves to draw and color, and he's pretty good at it, too.  He likes asking how words are spelled, and he often likes to write letters, but he often writes things in a total mirror image.  He can be the sweetest little boy, but he's definitely a handful.  His adorable dimple is still intact, but there are days it boggles my mind to think he's the same tiny baby I held in my arms five years ago.

For all the talk there is about how younger siblings get the shaft as far as documenting their lives via baby book or photos, I'll admit that Jacob has probably gotten the shaft since Carter's arrival.  I look through my photos and feel a little bad because there are not many of him.  Are we going to look back on the first few months of Carter's life and wonder where the heck Jacob was and what he looked like?  Admittedly, it's not all my fault.  Jacob isn't the most accommodating when it comes to picture taking, so often it's not even worth trying because I know he won't sit still or give me a good smile.  I really should spend more time covertly documenting his Lego escapades or taking video when he's outside hitting balls with Daddy, but my hands are often pretty full these days.  When he's occupied I'm either managing Carter or getting done what I can around the house.  Those bottles are not going to wash themselves!  He'd also prefer to be with Daddy most of the time anyway.  I suppose I just end up with less moments to capture for posterity.  The everyday moments don't always jump out at you as special, but now that I'm on kid #2 I'm starting to realize how important it is to document those as well.

In general Jacob just hasn't gotten a lot of attention on the blog since Carter's arrival, again because I don't get a lot of time to spend with him, and when I do there's often some sort of argument or frustrating interaction that goes along with it, which just seems to spoil the mood.  I also don't want to harp on Jacob's frequent inability to listen or cooperate, so I probably don't even vent here as much as I could.  He can be a great kid, which probably makes the frustrating moments that much more frustrating since it doesn't have to be that way. 

But when he's being good, he can be so great.  He's very social and he says the funniest things sometimes.  He's very passionate about things.  And when he plays by himself, he can be so imaginative.  The other day when he was home sick, I was getting dressed and could hear him playing downstairs with his hockey guys.  I decided this was a perfect slice of life to take video of.
 The jury's still out on whether or not he will follow in Daddy's broadcasting footsteps, but tell me this is not awesome...


I need to pay more attention to continuing to showcase Jacob on this blog in addition to his little brother.  Both boys continue to amaze me every day--it's just that Carter is a little more accommodating on the picture front!  I'm glad I have this clip because years from now I will watch it and marvel at the little boy he is now.  Time is going so fast, and it's leaving me in disbelief.  The countdown is on...

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Two Special Sundays

Last weekend was Mother's Day weekend.  Obviously my Mother's Day was a little crazy, spent mostly in airports and cars.  Before he left for Championship weekend, Craig left me a beautiful bouquet of flowers...

The boys both made presents for me at day care.  Both had to do with their feet, and I think it's pretty funny looking at them side-by-side...

Obviously Jacob's is on the left and Carter's is on the right.  Jacob's says "Mom".  I love them both, but it's so amazing to have a before-and-after sort of comparison.  How do those tiny feet turn into the giant ones?

Today was Carter's Christening.  It took forever to pick a date because of Craig's schedule, but since he had a Friday morning game this week, it worked to do it this weekend.  Of course, picking the date as late as we did meant that a lot of people already had other plans.  It also meant it was too much of a challenge for my brother, the godfather, to fly in for it.  It's just as well, though, since our church doesn't really involve the godparents aside from letting them stand up front.  The godmother was Craig's brother's wife.  I wish that they were more involved, but it's one of the few flaws our church has, so I guess we can't complain too much.  

Carter was a very good boy for his big day.  He ate right when we got to church, and by the time of the baptism, he was pleasantly awake.  He did fine with the water and babbled a bit near the end of the pastor's prayer while he was holding him.  He did drool some formula-tinged drool on the pastor (oops), but considering Carter can spit up a ton and fart like a grown man, we got off pretty easy.  He slept through the second half of church, and woke up just in time for some pictures.  Here's one with all the grandparents...we have a similar one from Jacob's baptism that's in a frame in his room, so hopefully we can keep a similar one in Carter's room...

He wore the same outfit as Jacob did, and managed to keep it clean the whole day!  The party was at our house, and it was a gorgeous day.  The boys spent most of it outside playing baseball, and I had a decent amount of time to mingle and snack compared to some parties I've thrown.  It wasn't a big group, but it was great to see everyone!

It was a busy day (on top of a busy prep day yesterday), and by the late afternoon, most of us were spent...

Jacob was the exception, of course.  He's feeling better, by the way--the stomach bug is gone and appears to have avoided the rest of us, but he's still sort of hit or miss on the eating thing.  I'm a little worried they're going to lecture us at this doctor's appointment next month because he's so darn skinny.  It's hard to keep weight on when you're always moving!  Carter seemed to get a little cold over the last couple days, with sniffling and sneezing, but he seemed better (and still very happy) today!

Today brought back good memories of Jacob's big day, and it's a sobering reminder how quickly kids grow.  It doesn't seem so long ago that he was the tiny baby in the little blue romper, but here we are, on the verge of sending him off to kindergarten.  Carter's already a far cry from the tiny little thing we brought home.  It's been an exhausting weekends with a busy week in between, but I'm so grateful for the many blessings that made them possible.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Best Baby Ever

I'm totally going to jinx myself writing this post--and in fact, after I pondered writing it today, Carter came down with a cold--but it needs to be said...he is an amazing little baby.  He is so good.  I have probably been taking it for granted, but believe me, I have been enjoying every bit. 

It's hard to remember exactly what we went through with Jacob.  I use the blog as a guide, but I didn't blog every single moment (hard to believe, eh?) so I don't remember exactly how challenging he was at certain times.  But Carter is so good that I can't imagine he could be beat.  I'd love to take credit for it, but I'm sure it's not me.  He's just a good baby. 

Most notably, he goes to sleep so well.  For pretty much his entire life, once he's swaddled and a little drowsy and I lay him in his crib, he goes to sleep...or at worst, makes noise for a little bit and then goes to sleep.  He rarely cries.  I can think of two times when I've had to send Craig in at night to soothe him because I couldn't do it anymore.  Two.  That's nothing.  Whether it's bedtime, a middle of the night feeding, or putting him back down for a little nap in between his morning feeding and when it's time to get ready for daycare, he rarely makes a peep. 

He's been sleeping through the night for weeks.  He's woken up early a couple times, but usually falls back to sleep after a minute or two.  I don't have to manage his naps as much anymore now that he's at daycare, but I'd venture he logs a heck of a lot more long naps than Jacob ever did. 

While he's had fussy periods around dinnertime, he rarely gets too miserable for too long.  Usually when he's crying he's either hungry, tired, or just wants a little attention.  I'm not sure if dirty diapers bother him, but sometimes I think a change distracts him enough to get him off his cranky streak, even if it was caused by something else.  A little rocking and butt-patting usually calm a fussy spell. 

He's smiley and sweet.  He likes a good snuggle and finally learned to enjoy the changing table.  He makes the funniest little noises and is starting to move his arms and legs so much.  He's still not much into playing, but he likes to look around and is getting better at grabbing. 

He gets cranky when he's hungry and can't be calmed until he eats, but beyond that, his moods are pretty easy to manage.  He's a good eater.  He's a favorite at daycare.  I long to get done with work just to have a few hours to snuggle him and kiss his chubby cheeks.  I obviously love Jacob, too, but there is something so special about a baby that doesn't talk back and thinks you're the coolest person ever.  Whereas half of my time with Jacob is spent arguing about one thing or another, my time with Carter is nearly all pure bliss.

I know this phase is probably limited.  Teething, illnesses, and developmental milestones lead to lost sleep, cranky moments, and eventually, disobedience.  But for now, I am so content with my sweet, happy little boy.  I'm so sad he's getting his first cold just in time for his Christening on Sunday, but by this time Jacob had already been sick for a full month and was routinely woken up by coughing fits.  I'm so grateful we haven't had to go through that this time.  Every kid has their own challenges--reflux and the milk sensitivity this time--but I truly can't complain.  Carter has been amazing.  I love him so much and feel so lucky to have him.  I said that I wouldn't even consider having another baby unless this one was an absolute angel.  We're very early into this new baby thing, and there's still pretty much no chance I want to do this again, but I'll tell ya, the kid is making a pretty good case for making himself into a middle child.  Again, probably not happening, but he's about as good of a baby as he could be...and I know we'd never get that lucky again.  I'll just be grateful for what we have and leave well enough alone! 

Anyway, I just wanted to say what a good baby he's been so it's recorded for posterity.  Someday I will either use this as proof that baby behavior is a good indicator of future personality, or I will use it to remind myself that he was once the sweetest baby who brought me such joy.  I pray this trend continues, but I know we'll have our moments like we do with Jacob.  I'll just enjoy this while I can and thank God for his mercy on my already tired self!  We are so blessed.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Three Months!

Hard to believe that three months ago right now I was nearing my last few pushes to bring this little man into the world...

And here we are three months later with this adorable smiley baby!  He was so good at the beginning of this month's photo shoot--big smiles!  His face is so much more expressive this month!  He's been very chatty and is still the darling of the room at daycare.  I can't believe how big he's getting and how much he's changing.  It's all happening so fast!  Hard to believe we've halfway to solid foods and a third of the way to crawling.  He's so sweet, he's a great sleeper, and he is so handsome!  We are so lucky!

In other news, Jacob is still sick.  The strep test came back negative and the doctor said it's a stomach bug.  It seemed to have moved south in his system after throwing up again this morning, and he kept food and water down all day.  Because it had moved south, the doctor said the throwing up should be done.  His energy seemed back and we gave him a bland dinner, but a little beyond the BRAT diet since things had been staying down.  But tonight he woke up puking an hour after he went to bed, so now we're back to square one.  I need to see if they're sending his culture out for the non-rapid test, because I still have a hunch it will come back positive.  The fact that stuff is staying down and then suddenly coming back up after 12 hours (it's happened that way twice now) is so confusing.  I'm very concerned any of the rest of us are going to get it, which would be horrible for Carter regardless, bad for Craig since he needs to go on the road for work, and very bad for me since I'll be alone with the kids for the next couple days and we have the Christening coming up Sunday.  I haven't gotten anything really done yet for it, and I'm definitely worried.  Ugh.

Speaking of which, time to get a couple more things done before bed...and I desperately need sleep.  Maybe I'll get a nap or something tomorrow since I'll be home with the sick little man.  I guess that's a bright side.  Please pray the rest of us get through this unscathed... 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What a Weekend - The Rest of the Story

On the way to the game in the limo, that's when the nerves started setting in.  To be honest, my nerves are far better now than they used to be.  I mean, when you've never won one and you're on the verge, there is nothing you want more.  Now that we've won a couple, I still really want to win, but it's different and for whatever reason the butterflies are not nearly as bad.  I remember the championship game in Phoenix when I was questioning my lunch choice and couldn't even think about food once we were at the game.  This time I downed a piece of pizza, a couple wings, and some chips and salsa in the middle of the game!  Still, I was nervous and eager for the game to start. 
 
I sat in a suite with some of the staff, and this was our view...

The arena was small but fairly new and pretty nice.  No frills, really, but nice enough.  It wasn't very bright, though, and the folks watching back home were complaining on Facebook about how dark it was!  It held about 5,000 people.  The Knighthawks actually had a pretty good contingent considering the circumstances of playing on the other side of the country with a week's notice (and expensive plane tickets).  Some of their fans were local Native Americans there to support the many Natives on the team.  There were quite a few family members and staff, as well, and we were a pretty vocal group.  The Stealth obviously still had the numbers advantage, but I'd have to guess that a lot of the fans there were local lacrosse fans excited to see the NLL Championship game in their town, as opposed to a full throng of die-hards from Everett, where the team is normally based.  They were loud, but they weren't rowdy like you'd expect for the biggest game of the year. 

Early on the game was close, but the Knighthawks scored a number of goals in a row to take a big lead.  By early in the second quarter, things were looking good as the Knighthawks had a 7-3 lead.  But Washington came back and suddenly it was tied.  The Knighthawks had a resurgence by the end of the half, however, and the score was 10-7 at halftime.  Washington scored two goals in the third to make it 10-9, and the Knighthawks couldn't score to save their lives.  After a great first half, I was starting to get nervous that this game might be heading for overtime.  Fortunately, Rochester native Joe Walters scored early in the fourth quarter to break the drought temporarily, but it continued on after that as Washington scored again to bring it within one.  The rest of the quarter was very tight, and as the seconds ticked down, we were all very nervous that one bad bounce could change everything.  The Knighthawks managed to get the ball with less than 30 seconds left, which should have been ideal since the shot clock is 30 seconds long and we should have been able to kill that time off, but things happened and suddenly Washington got one last chance.  That last shot pretty much gave us all a heart attack, but goalie Matt Vinc stopped it and the game was over!  The Knighthawks won 11-10!  They're the first back-to-back champions since Toronto beat us in 2003 when I was still working there.  That was a rough game, but it's hard to believe that we've won three championships since!

Here are a few pictures from the postgame...
The commissioner presenting the Champion's Cup

Local boy and game-winning goal scorer Joe Walters raising the Cup

Posing for the team photo...Craig is on the left

Mike Accursi and his wife and son (another Carter!)...I told his wife that he's not allowed to retire, since he's a lucky charm.  He's been on all three championship teams, as well as another one with Buffalo!

The Dawson brothers--they got traded to the team the day we went to Montreal in December, and turned out to be great additions to the team.  This was their first championship.
And yes, us...

The celebration was pretty low-key--at least the part we were around for.  There were some festivities with the team in the locker room with just the team, but afterward we all just headed to a bar/restaurant across from the hotel.  We ate a lot of fried food, drank some beer, and hung out.  Craig and I left around midnight since I had to be up extra early, so I don't really know if anything too interesting happened afterward.  I do know a couple people had stomach issues on the plane ride home (not my plane), but beyond that I'm not sure how the night went.  I'm hoping to enjoy a little more celebrating at some point when the team comes back to celebrate with the fans here. 

I had to be up before 4am for my trip home.  It was cold and rainy.  I hopped in the car a little after 4am and headed back to Seattle.  Despite the rain and some wet roads, the trip wasn't bad.  I kept myself awake and it was light well before 6am.  The mountains were obscured, unfortunately, but Seattle was nice to drive through.  I rushed through getting gas and dropping off my car, and got to my gate just as the first passengers were boarding.  My flights were both fine.  My connection was in Minneapolis, which was fun since the stores in the airport had a lot of moose, sports stuff, and some Peanuts items, all of which are popular things around our house.  I kept myself occupied with attempts to sleep, composing a blog post, and staring out the window on my second leg.  We had one bit of nasty turbulence, but otherwise the travel was pretty flawless.  It was great to get back and see the kids, and after a little downtime, we headed home.  Both boys slept most of the way and went to bed right when we got home, and Craig got home very late.

I have been exhausted the last two days.  Really exhausted.  I'm not surprised given the missed night of sleep, one short night of sleep, and the time change.  But there's a lot to do now that I'm home so it's hard to get to bed early.  I'm definitely glad I went--the game and the Chihuly stuff were both great--but I'll certainly think twice about doing a crazy trip like that again.  I might still do it, but it's good food for thought.  It's hard to be a responsible adult in a scenario like that (both because of having to pass off the kids and because the recovery is hard), but at the same time, it's fun to run off and do something fun and awesome without having kids to limit your options.  That solo time is pretty rare these days, and the ability to see a lovely part of the world isn't too shabby either.  Still, it's not an easy thing to manage and I know I was lucky in a lot of ways.  For that reason I'll think twice, but it was a very special weekend and I'm glad I got to do it. 

Oh, and we're definitely back to reality here.  Jacob threw up at daycare today, though he's been okay but feeling crappy ever since.  The jury's still out on what's going on.  We also have a busy week of planning for Carter's Christening, all while Craig is off on a roadtrip later in the week.  Never a dull moment here...never!

Monday, May 13, 2013

What a Weekend! - Part 2

As I mentioned, I woke up Saturday feeling great.  The weather outside was cool-ish with hazy sun, and I set my sights on a good run down by the river while Craig was at the morning shoot-around.  Before I got going, I decided to try for a FaceTime session with my parents and the kids.  I couldn't use my cell phone in Canada so I just had to press my luck by initiating a session and hope they happened to be near the iPad when I did it, and fortunately, they were!  We ended up chatting for a good half hour or so.  I showed Jacob the hotel room, got some views of Carter, and heard about how everything was going there.  Technology is great like that!  After that I threw on my workout clothes and headed out to the river walk outside the hotel.

The hotel was right on the Fraser River, and the river walk was perfect for a good run. 
Our hotel...our room was the second from the left on the seventh floor 

There were quite a few people out, even though it was fairly early--a few runners, a few walkers, and a few dog walkers.  The weather was great for running because it wasn't too warm, though by the end of my three miles, the sun was emerging from the haze a bit and it was getting warmer fast.  The run was so nice because it was scenic the whole way.  At one end were countless condos with gorgeous grounds...

...at the other end were some park-like areas, and in the middle was the entertainment area around the hotel.
The World's Tallest Tin Soldier
There were pretty flowers along most of it, as well, and as I ran I decided I needed to come back out later with my camera and take some pictures.  The three miles went pretty quickly (and I love that my Nike+ sensor tracks the distance and time for me--it's so cool!), and Craig came back as I was showering off afterward.  He wanted to take a nap before lunch, so I headed out to do my picture taking.


My walk was lovely, and I had a blast taking pictures of random flowers...

So vivid!

These colors were so pretty!

These were like tiny little pom-poms...about the size of a penny.

The sprinklers were on and the water droplets added something...when I could take a picture without getting the camera wet!

I loved the orange on these.  Not sure the picture does it justice.

Not sure I have ever seen a yellow rhododendron!

Not sure what this is, but it was cool!
I love the perfect center of this flower.


 I decided on that walk that I really liked the vibe of the area.  I loved that it was this little spot of bliss on the edge of a city, close to the grocery store and restaurants (across from the hotel) but still so peaceful since it was on the river.  I saw one couple around my parents' age walking back home with their groceries for the day.  It seemed like a nice existence...live on the river, walk to the grocery store, stay out of the crazy city life but be within a half hour train ride of a major, vibrant city.  Seems pretty nice to me!

Incidentally, in the weeks leading up to this trip I felt like I had lost some of my passion for taking photos like this.  My focus has been trying to capture perfect pictures of Carter, and honestly, it wasn't going well.  I think that got me down a little, but this trip was the perfect opportunity to remember how fun it is to get a great shot.  Chihuly and the flowers were the perfect muses.

After my walk, Craig and I headed out to lunch at the A&W restaurant across the street.  We made a stop at the grocery store for a couple things, and the pharmacy for a couple more, and headed back to the hotel.  Craig had to catch the team bus, and I had to meet up with some other wives, girlfriends, moms, and miscellaneous family members and staff to get ready to carpool to the game.  I was lucky enough to go in a giant SUV limo.  I sat next to the goalie's mom, who was a wreck.  I don't blame her!

Outside the arena, there was a gorgeous view of the mountains...
 
And the wood beams outside the arena were actually structural.  Neat touch.

I'll post about the game and wrap up my thoughts on the trip in my next post...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

What a Weekend!


Wow. I'm starting to write this post from my last flight of the weekend, but I'm guessing I won't finish it until possibly tomorrow...or since I'm splitting this up anyway maybe I'll get the first part done, at least. I am exhausted...happy, but exhausted. Actually, while I am tired right now, I'm fine. I think I'm making myself more tired just thinking about the hour-plus drive I have to get back home, bedtime with two kids and no husband (he's currently somewhere above Canada), and the unpacking and laundry I will need to do before I can go to sleep. I've had approximately 11-1/2 hours of sleep since I woke up on Thursday morning. Normally I'm only getting six hours or so a night right now, and I really need more than that, but this is ridiculous. I will venture to say at this point that it was worth it, but like I said in my last post, there was a time where I was convinced it wasn't. I am definitely in no rush to hop back on a plane, and when I do I will probably be a little more firm on knowing when I'm flying before I book. Aside from the craziness of my flights out, every other part of this trip went as well or better than expected. Thank God.

My flight landed a little after 1pm on Friday afternoon. I called my parents while I was waiting for my rental car and found out that Carter hadn't been sleeping much and Jacob had gotten poked in the eye at one point while he was playing with his little friend Nora down the street. Still, things were going pretty well. It took a while to get my car, but I was able to add a day on to the front of my non-changeable reservation. Alamo was a little more hands-off with the actual pick-up of the car than Enterprise had been on our Atlanta trip. I found that weird, but in the end it was fine. I figured out that I'd have just enough time to head down to Tacoma to visit the glass museum, then start my three-hour drive up to New Westminster, BC, to meet up with Craig. I'd miss out on dinner out, and most likely the evening activity of a movie (which never ended up happening anyway), but I figured the chance to go to Tacoma was pretty unique, so I had to do it.

The half-hour drive to Tacoma was quite a bit longer than that, thanks to traffic and a challenging GPS moment where it kept trying to send me down a closed road, but I think finally got there around 3:30 or so, giving me about an hour before I ideally wanted to be back on the road. The glass museum looks pretty impressive from the outside, with this giant cone structure. 

And, of course, I'm used to the Corning Museum of Glass, which is huge and amazing. This one...well, not so much. Turns out one of the galleries was in transition, so there was really only one open gallery to see. I got a discount on admission—and really, if I hadn't gone in, I'd have wondered what I was missing—but it was relatively unimpressive. The stuff I did see was pretty, but expecting more I sort of flew through it all and then realized there wasn't anything else to see in the museum itself. I could have sat and watched the glass blowers in action, but I've seen that before and I was more interested in seeing the stuff outside anyway. Strangely, some of the things for sale in the store were cooler than what was in the museum. Alas, too pricey and too hard to get home!

I headed outside to see the outdoor displays, most notably the Dale Chihuly Glass Bridge. My love affair with Chihuly began back in college when I randomly went with some family to his traveling exhibit at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo. I'd just finished an art history class and jumped at the chance to go the museum, but I discovered Chihuly's amazing work and I've been hooked ever since. I seek out his pieces whenever I visit a new city—like in Vegas (his work is on the ceiling of the Bellagio lobby, for example) or at the Turning Stone Casino near Syracuse--and went to his exhibit at the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden the weekend before I found out I was pregnant with Jacob. Seven years ago as we passed through Tacoma on the train between Seattle and Portland, we passed under the Glass Bridge, and I swore to myself that I had to come back and go there. When this trip cropped up I didn't even think about it until my boss mentioned it and I found out Tacoma was so close to Seattle.

Anyway, the glass bridge features two separate sets of Chihuly pieces. One set is a few dozen glassed-in cubbies filled with large flowers-in-a-vase type pieces. Most of them are about 2-3 feet tall, and a few others are probably closer to 4-5 feet. They are colorful and unique, and the wall of them is probably a good 10-12 feet high and, oh, maybe 50 feet long? It was gorgeous. 

The middle of the bridge features two giant towers of teal glass chunks. 

The far end has a section with a glass ceiling full of smaller, random pieces of glass. It's a feast of color and reminiscent of one of my favorite parts of the Buffalo exhibit. Each section is unique, and everything is so colorful. I could have stood there taking pictures for hours.



As I wandered across the bridge, I looked a the windows of a building on the other side, Union Station. It's a classic old building, and it now houses a courthouse. In the one set of giant windows, I thought I could see something, so I decided to go down and check it out. Sure enough, the building was a treasure trove of Chihuly installations. Between the architecture and the artwork, it was absolutely breathtaking. There was a chandelier (my favorite type of his work)...


...a metal circle full of snaking glass tubes...

...a wall of Chihuly's inspiration paintings, glass spikes in front of one window, and the pieces I had seen through the other window, giant flower shapes...

It was a feast of color amidst the white backdrop. The funny thing is that because it's a courthouse, I was instructed by the security guy that I couldn't take pictures of his station or the words “US Courts” below the one window. Odd, but okay. I wandered around that lobby for a while, taking pictures from new angles and thanking my lucky stars I walked that far. I briefly considered doing a cell phone tour to find more pieces around town, but decided it was time to be getting back.

I stopped at the one other outdoor installation by the museum, some clear glass structures in fountains, and bemoaned the fact that I wouldn't be there to see them in the dark, because I'm pretty sure they'd be gorgeous lit up.


I headed back to the car and started my trek back through Seattle to BC. I knew it would probably be a haul because it was approaching rush hour and my route (right up I-5) was directly through the city. I did run into some traffic, but all things considered it was probably better than it could have been. I think I was probably on the better side of the highway and lucky that it was Friday. Driving through the city made me wish I had more time there. I noticed lights on at the baseball stadium and wished I could go to a game. I saw the Space Needle, which is so iconic and cool. It brought back memories of our trip there and made me want to visit Pike Place Market, the place that made me fall in love with digital photography. That was my first trip with my first digital camera, and some of the pictures I took outside the market are still some of my favorites. It didn't hurt that the weather was picture perfect and the trip outstanding.

Once through Seattle, I stopped for dinner at Jack-in-the-Box. My goal on most trips (being as frugal as I am) is eating at whatever famous chain I can't eat at in Rochester. In Atlanta it was Chick-Fil-A and Mellow Mushroom. In Orlando it was Cici's, Chipotle, and Sonic (and thankfully, we now have those first two in Rochester). In Toronto it's Pizza Pizza and Marche'. I know these cities all have fantastic gourmet cuisine, but I don't really want to pay for it and my limited taste buds aren't worth it anyway. Anyway, my dinner was greasy but good. Ironically, the restaurant was in Everett, WA, the actual home of the team the Knighthawks were playing.

I continued on for a couple more hours, enjoying the gorgeous mountain views and the pleasant evening weather. I finally crossed over the border—man, those crossings are uneventful compared to the ones by us!--and within about 20 minutes or so I made it to the hotel. I immediately ran into a couple people I knew—one coach and one of Craig's co-workers—and finally made it up to Craig's room. It was nice, and it had a balcony overlooking the river. 

We ventured out for a bit, just walking over the pedestrian bridge to the New Westminster train station, where there were some stores and restaurants. We figured we could get a snack and some breakfast for the morning, and Tim Hortons fit the bill for both. We headed back and went to bed around 10:30. My first sleep in about 40 hours, and it was glorious. A comfortable bed, no baby monitors, no kids, and no stress. I slept deeply for eight hours. Even though I woke up at 6:15am (remember, that's 9:15 Eastern time), I felt amazing. I figure it's the best night of sleep I've had in at least six months. It was a great start to a great day, and I'll tell you all about that in my next post...