Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Change of Scenery

With all that's been happening around our house over the last few weeks, I was a bit torn about this trip to Pittsburgh that we had planned with Craig's family.  On one hand, it was nice to be off work and get out of town for a few days.  Life at home has been trying, so at least I could focus on my kids, where my brain has been anyway (regardless of where my body is), and at least deal with our issues in a more interesting setting.  But then again...with all we've been dealing with, the last thing I felt like doing was pack up, rush around, and spend hours in a car with two kids. 

The trip itself actually ended up being a little longer than we had originally anticipated, mostly because the Saturday baseball game we would have otherwise attended was sold out, and Craig's brother bought tickets to Friday's and Sunday's games (without double checking with us), which made it an automatic three day trip.  The timing was a little frustrating, as well, since my brother's family is in from Portland, and this weekend was our prime time to spend with them.  My vacation time is limited as it is (due mostly to an extra week on the end of my maternity leave and our trip to Disney later in the month), so as a whole this wasn't the best set of circumstances.  We had to make it work, though, so off we went.

Friday morning started with a doctor's appointment for both kids.  We had to take Carter in for the projectile vomiting issue I mentioned previously, and we figured we'd get Jacob checked out as well for a few things--stomach aches he's been complaining about (most likely caused by his pooping issues), his wound from his head bump on Wednesday night, and a quick chat with the doctor in light of our request for a therapist recommendation last week.  We figured we'd cram it all into one visit, and since she was in Friday, it seemed easier to do it then than see another doctor Thursday night.  The appointment took a little longer than we'd hoped, and by the time we got home, packed, and on the road, it was later than was ideal.  Then, 20 minutes in, I realized that we forgot one of Carter's medicines.  We simply didn't have time to go back, so we made a couple calls and managed to get the medicine called into a Wegmans in Erie, PA, where we could pick it up on our way through town.

In the interim, we stopped in Buffalo for lunch at McDonald's.  Carter ate while we were there, too, and Jacob...well...he was a mess.  It was like pulling teeth to get him to eat his food or behave at the table.  We definitely got some looks.  So, that took longer than anticipated, and we were even further behind schedule.  Then the medicine wasn't ready when we got to Erie, so that took even longer.  On the bright side, I did get this awesome selfie of Carter and me while we were waiting...
Seriously, could he be any cuter?
The trip just seemed to drag along forever, and we had to make another stop to feed Carter, take a bathroom break, and get a snack.  By the time we got to Pittsburgh, it was nearly gametime.  We checked into the hotel, got ourselves organized, and took the free shuttle right to the ballpark, which was huge.  We got there in the second inning, which wasn't bad all things considered, but it was one heck of a long trip. 

And it was HOT.  Actually, it wasn't really that hot, but rather incredibly humid.  So even though it was a night game with no sun, I was sweating nearly as much as I usually do at the many hot day games we've attended.  But we had good seats--different from where we've ever sat, way down the first baseline and maybe 10 rows up--and we ended up having a pretty good time even though Carter got a little cranky and Jacob was his usual trying self.  Here are some highlights...
Our view

Adorable face by Carter while he was being held by big cousin Maddy!

Craig and Jacob, complete with the usual mad face I've been getting constantly from Jacob lately.

Our view to the right of our seats.  I'm mostly including this because we sat up in those seats for Sunday's game.  I do like the look of the scoreboard, though.
Saturday was my birthday, and I am officially halfway through my 30s (gasp!).  We had the zoo planned for the day.  We had a pretty lazy morning where we indulged in my favorite free hotel breakfast, including the Holiday Inn Express cinnamon buns and a pancake machine.  I also got serenaded with "Happy Birthday" by Jacob's cousins!  We got on the road to the zoo around lunchtime (but we had a late breakfast so eating wasn't urgent), dealt with a few construction detours along the way, and finally got there.  Again, the humidity was awful.  Also, Craig's dad, who has a history of heart problems, was having a lot of trouble walking around, particularly with the humidity, so Craig's parents stayed back at the hotel and it was just us and his brother's family.  It was sort of a weird flow all day, and we dealt with a lot of issues with Jacob and general fussiness from Carter, but we finally managed to get through most of the zoo and see some awesome stuff.  We love that zoo.
Baby tiger playing with a big one!

Two lions.  They're so gorgeous.

Three little animals in a cage...otherwise known as Grant, Luke, and Jacob!

Baby orangutan...cute :)  Can't wait until the one here in Rochester is doing more!

All the kids outside the aquarium.  We have many pictures of Jacob over the years in front of that otter statue to the left.  Carter now gets to join in the fun!

I somehow managed to get this awesome picture of a jellyfish.  They are not easy to capture in the darkness, but I love this one!

Craig and Jacob touching the giant devil rays!  Those things were huge and had a tendency to rise up the glass and try to escape.  It was freakish...and they created quite a wave in the process!
Saturday night took a little while to get going.  Jacob took a dreaded two hour nap after the zoo, his cousins swam in the hotel pool, and by the time we got walking to dinner, it was dark out.  We ended up at this little pizza place that reminded me of my beloved Mama Mia's in Geneseo.  We got a smorgasbord of pizza, subs, breadsticks, and chicken fingers.  It was a little challenging since we were all extra hungry and it was getting late, but we survived the outing and ended up with some extra food that came in handy later in the trip.  Jacob was up late for the second night in a row, but since I knew that would happen, it was slightly less frustrating than usual.  I blogged and read through my Facebook birthday messages and tried to make the best of it.  Oh, and did I mention that Carter was also having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep while we were there?  It was a lot of late nights and early mornings, with lots of light sleeping in between for me.  Not ideal.  Hotel rooms + little kids = torture.  Always.

Sunday morning we got up for another yummy breakfast, then got ready for Pirates game #2.  While we were packing up, I caught this picture of Craig and Carter sitting on the pull-out sofa (a.k.a. Jacob's bed) in our room...

We headed out to the game on a very dreary day.  It had rained overnight and a little in the morning, but was relatively dry (but humid again) by the time we went to the game.  This was our view...
Yep, that's the foul pole!  I was panicked thinking about possible home runs flying in our direction, but luckily, they stayed away.
Before the game, the kids got a chance to get their picture with one of the pierogy racers, Cheese Chester!
Yes, this is weird, even for the world of mascots, but hey, what's better for a bunch of Polish kids? ;-)
Despite the fact that Carter didn't really want to watch the game, I managed to get some adorable pictures of him...
Another good selfie--it almost never happens so I'm going to celebrate them when I can get them!

Love the composition of this shot (total luck) and his adorable happy face!

Even his non-smiley face is beyond cute here!  Don't mind my face...just didn't take the time to crop it out!
Meanwhile, eventually the boys went down to the mini-field/playground area to play.  I got down there just as Jacob came up to bat...

He hit the whiffle ball over our heads, down the first base line, and it almost popped right over the "outfield" wall where the netting ended!  The kid can hit, no doubt.  Afterward he took to playing catcher.  It's funny to watch the kids police themselves as they played.  I was surprised the other kids let him do it, but I guess it's not as important a position as pitcher, so perhaps no one cared enough!  Here is Jacob playing catcher with cousin Luke batting...

At the end of the game, we had a tough decision to make.  Should we let the kids run the bases postgame?  It's a cool thing, for sure, but it's a long wait and it was already getting to be about dinnertime.  We still had a long drive ahead of us, too, even if we were only going to Buffalo.  In the end we did it.  We had to wait a while, and despite some crankiness from Jacob, we made it through.  He had done it when he was two, but I'm sure he doesn't really remember it that well aside from what we've told him over the years, so it was cool for him to get to do it again as a big boy. 

Rounding third!
We had a bit of a walk to get back to the subway station, then a ride on the subway and a ride on the hotel shuttle to get back to the cars.  The sun had finally come out, so it was once again very hot and humid.  It had been a long day already, and it honestly felt like the process of getting out of town and to my parents' house for the night was going to take FOREVER.  I fed Carter in the hotel lobby around 6:30, and we scarfed down some of the leftover pizza and breadsticks outside the car before hitting the road.  We had to stop for gas and a potty break a little before Erie (which was punctuated by a rather unfortunate interaction between Jacob and me), and hit a little rain along the way.  Fortunately Carter was able to go the four hours without eating (or else we would have been even later), and we arrived at my parents' house a little before 11.  Jacob was in rare form by then, and Carter was having an extra hard time going down as well.  Thankfully neither of them woke up their cousins who were sleeping upstairs, but it was not easy.  We had to sit down and have a heart-to-heart with Jacob about his behavior before any of us went to sleep, and then had to try to get Carter to sleep after that.  I don't think I went to sleep until 1.  On an air mattress.  With a restless baby next to my head.  Yeah, it wasn't ideal...but we managed.

We had another early morning there, but once we were up, we had a fun day with lots of family time.  But more on that soon.  I think this post is long enough!  Overall, it was an eventful trip with some not-great moments, but we managed to have some fun anyway.  Getting back in the groove (and a NEW groove at that) is going to be a challenge this week, but at least we had a little last hurrah to send off summer.  I'll post more about the time we had with my family soon, but I'm guessing there may be another medical update/first day of school post in the interim.  Stay tuned...

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