Friday, May 30, 2014

Week in Review

So...it's been a bit of a crazy week.  Let's recap.

As I mentioned previously, the beginning of this week was dedicated to Craig's Nana's funeral.  It was a lovely service and we had a good time catching up with family.  I met some family I'd never met, and Craig saw relatives he hadn't seen in 20 years or so.  We spent a good chunk of two days at the funeral home with both kids.  Originally I wasn't sure I wanted to have Carter there, but for the most part he was content watching people and being manhandled by his big cousins.  They were forever dragging him off to play somewhere, and as long as I was out of view, he was happy as a clam.  Eventually he'd see me and try to crawl back.  We spent a lot of time walking around, with him on two feet and holding my finger.  He's getting so close to walking.  He can totally do it, but tends to crap out after a few steps.  I think he can go a lot farther than he is, but he either gets impatient or loses his balance just enough to go down.  But sometimes he looks so steady, and lately he's been walking off on his own, randomly, almost without even realizing it, so I'm hoping he's getting close.

Originally I said that I'd wait to switch out the car seats until Carter was walking, but as time dragged on I decided I'd had enough.  I switched out the car seats a couple weeks ago--Jacob into boosters, Carter into Jacob's old seats, turned backwards--and I think it's been going well.  Jacob can sort of get himself belted in by himself, though it usually takes a while to pull the belt out far enough.  Carter seems to like his new digs, though I constantly catch him craning his neck to see outside.  I don't miss that blasted baby seat, except when he's sleeping when we get home, or when I need him contained prior to leaving the house or when I'm bringing in groceries or something and he doesn't like being alone in the car.  Small price to pay, most of the time.

So...we had a busy few days surrounding all of that.  Lots of good family time, lots of food, and a little pool time.  The weather was pretty great, too.  Carter hung out with my parents the day of the funeral because I knew it would be a long day for him.  He was nice comic relief at the funeral home, but funerals are quiet and we all really needed the time to focus on Nana.  By the time we got back to him that afternoon, he had a bit of a fever and was coughing, all accompanied by a nasty runny nose.  Poor baby.  Who knows where it came from, but boy, was he miserable by that night. 

I ended up staying home with him on Wednesday because he still had a fever in the morning.  Being away from work for yet another day (on top of the holiday and the funeral) was less than ideal, but Carter's 3-1/2 hour nap helped me work a good half day from home.  Craig was off to Canada for Knighthawks practice, so I had to pick up Jacob from school.  When I got there, one of the Educare teachers shared with me that Jacob had had yet another bad day, and as a result, if he got written up one more time he would be suspended from Educare for the rest of the year.  Seriously?!  Keep in mind we still have another month of school left.  If we had to pick him up every day at 3pm, that would be terribly inconvenient.  I was pretty much in a rage for the rest of the day, trying to impart to Jacob how important it was for him to cut the crap and start behaving.  I have no idea what's gotten into him lately, but man...it's been rough.  Being bad at home is one thing, but when it's carrying over into school, that's even worse.  He's had multiple trips to the principal's office, multiple notes home, and multiple afterschool write-ups, just in the last three weeks.  Awful. 

Thursday I finally got back to work, and in the evening was the Corporate Challenge, my annual 3.5 mile race.  I hadn't had as much time to get ready for it as I normally like.  Two years ago I was running at least twice per week to up my speed so I could finish in 30 minutes.  I ended up that year at 30:12 because of the concentration of slow runners at the start of the race, but that was pretty impressive nonetheless.  Last year I was coming off of pregnancy so I just wanted to finish.  I actually did pretty good, somewhere between 32-33 minutes.  This year I was having so much trouble getting out for runs that I was just hoping to run the whole thing.  And I did.  I even met my other goal, running at a 10 minute mile pace (or less).  I finished in 33:57, a 9:47 minute mile pace.  I was thrilled.  And I'll admit, it was nice to have an evening out to hang out with adults, eat gluten-filled food, and do something for me.  There is nothing quite like crossing that finish line after struggling through 3.5 miles, and I really appreciate the experience each year.  I like having a goal, and I like trying to meet it.  It makes me push myself.

Today was the calm before the storm.  Craig mowed the lawn, I did a little yardwork, Carter went to bed early, and Jacob wasn't too bad.  But Saturday...oh boy.  Tomorrow is going to be nuts.  Jacob has a baseball game at 9:30.  Craig needs to be at Knighthawks practice at 10:30.  Carter and I will be leaving as early as we can for the Stroll for Strong, to walk with my friend's son's team.  My parents will be meeting Jacob at his game and taking him home afterward.  Carter and I will meet them there after lunch and we'll either have some downtime, or I'll do some yardwork, or we'll all go out geocaching.  After dinner we'll head out to the arena for the final portion of the Knighthawks' championship series.  They lost game one last weekend, so they need to win the game AND a 10-minute mini-game after that.  If they lose either, they lose the championship.  They could three-peat (first team ever), which would be great, but it's going to be a tough road.  It's also going to be a late night.  I'm pulling a bad mom move by taking the kids, but geez, it's the championship. 

So...we'll see how all of this goes.  I owe you a good photo post one of these days, since I have a few from the week that are worth sharing.  But that's going to have to wait for another day...I am beat!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering Nana

A few days ago, Craig's grandmother, his Nana, passed away.  She'd been quite ill for a while.  I think we had the first of a handful of "last visits" late last fall or early winter, and each one after that was always wrought with the question or whether this would be the last time we'd see her.  The last time the kids and I saw her was earlier in the spring, sometime between St. Patrick's Day and Easter.  Craig was fortunate enough to hear of her worsened condition while on his way to Knighthawks practice in Canada last Wednesday, and he turned around and headed right to her bedside.  She passed sometime before the next morning.  She was the last living grandparent between the two of us, and consequently, the last great-grandparent the kids had. 

I only have real memories of one of my great-grandparents, my dad's mother's mother.  She lived until I was 19, though the last six or so years were pretty crappy for her.  Up until that point, though, she was sharp and funny and I have great memories of visiting her house.  She always had cookies available, and I loved playing with a baby doll she had in her spare bedroom.  I actually missed her funeral because I was away at college and my parents were out of town, and no one remembered to call me until it was all over.  Beyond that...I'm pretty sure I met one other great-grandmother, but I don't remember meeting any others.

Jacob was lucky enough to have two great-grandparents alive for a decent chunk of his life.  My grandma lived until he was three, and he still seems to have some vague memories of her.  I am sure they will fade with time, but I am happy he got to know her.  I think he will remember Nana longer.  Carter, of course, will not, but I remember thinking back when I was pregnant how I just wanted Nana to live long enough to meet him.  She's been through so many illnesses over the years--lots of dehydration scares, heart problems, congestive heart failure, an intestinal blockage, etc.--and I just wanted her to be able enjoy him, and to get a picture of her holding him, just so he had that years down the road.

In the end, she lived to be 94, and last night I went through all of my pictures to see if there were any we should print to add to the boards at the funeral home.  I found over 35 pictures in my files from the past seven years or so.  Most are with the kids.  And I won't lie--I took many of them with the specific knowledge that she wouldn't be around for much longer and I wanted our kids to have as many pictures with her as possible (without making me look too crazy for constantly snapping them).  And now, just as I figured, I treasure every one of them.  I hope someday they do, too.

She was a tough-as-nails lady.  In the time I knew her, she wasn't your typical warm fuzzy grandma.  In fact, for a while I wasn't really sure how she felt about me, but by the end I knew that if nothing else she loved the kids and appreciated any time that we were all able to spend with her.  In that way she reminded me of my own grandfather.  He may not have been a warm fuzzy kind of guy, but if you looked closely you could see a certain look of pride and joy whenever his grandkids were grabbing his attention.  Nana was much the same.  She went through a lot in her 94 years, but was still very sharp right up until the end.  She loved watching the kids whenever we were able to visit.  Pink was her favorite color, which is why we're all making an effort to incorporate it into our wardrobes this weekend. 

It's hard to get overly emotional right now, partly because she lived a long, full life; partly because my attention is divided by tending to two busy kids; and partly because I know she's comfortable and at peace now.  But she will definitely be missed.  Family gatherings won't be the same, and I won't have the joy of counting up which birthday it would be for her when November comes around again.  There will be one less person having tea after Thanksgiving dinner, one less person to chat with at the kitchen table during parties, and one less person smiling at my adorable children.  I can't say that I have one standout memory of her (which, admittedly, is a bit of a bummer).  The closest I probably have is Christmas Eve two years ago when we ended up spending a couple hours with her at her apartment complex, because her daughter (Craig's aunt) was a little late in coming to get her for a visit.  We had already had a nice visit with her to give her her Christmas present and chat for a while, but then we got the "bonus" time during her extended wait.  I don't even remember much of what we talked about, but I remember it being a really nice visit.  I felt like we really made a difference in her day.

But what I do take away are the little moments.  The after dinner chats, the times she held my babies for the first time, the times they made her smile, the times her feisty personality stood out from her otherwise docile, grandmotherly appearance.  She was often a woman of few words, but when she used them, you better believe she had a reason. 

When I lost my last biological grandmother, Nana became the only grandparent I could claim.  By marriage, yes, but it was better than nothing.  I hadn't known her that long, but obviously she'd had a huge impact in the life of the man I love.  That alone made her presence so precious, and it took on a new dimension when we added to her collection of great-grandchildren. But losing my grandmother was a solemn reminder that time is limited, and once your grandparents are gone, there is no one else like them that can fill that specific role.  I felt like having a grandmother by marriage was a bonus, or a second chance, so to speak, to appreciate that special role.  And now, she's gone.  Things just won't be the same.  She was loved by so many people, and we will miss her dearly.

Here are a few of the pictures I will hold so near and dear:

Our wedding - The closeup of this picture was actually the one used in her obituary and the funeral program.  I must admit, that was nice.

Holding a month-old Jacob for the first time.  Oh, the chicken legs!

I love this picture of her.  I took this at a family gathering when Jacob was a baby because he had a couple drool-safe photo albums that needed filling.  I took pictures of family members to fill them, and this was her picture.  I have one album for each side of the family, and the last pages of both will remain the great-grandmothers, despite their passing.

Jacob was almost two in this picture, and I always liked how Nana seemed to entertained by whatever Jacob was doing.
 
Ahhh, the picture I longed to get from the time I found out I was pregnant with Carter.  I wanted to make sure that I got a matching picture to the one I took of her with baby Jacob, and I felt a clear sense of peace as I walked away from taking this one.  He was one day older in this picture than Jacob was in his.

 

This may be my favorite of the bunch.  Carter is adorable, and Nana is loving every minute of it.  This...this is the stuff I am sad won't happen anymore.
Tomorrow is the funeral after two days of visitation.  I passed off Carter to my parents tonight since I think a long morning of quiet time may not be ideal for my active little baby.  I missed part of my own grandmother's funeral when Jacob acted up, and I'd rather not repeat that experience.  I'm not quite sure how Jacob will handle tomorrow's events, but I think it's important for him to be there and start learning how we say goodbye to the people we love.  It won't be easy for any of us, but she's in a better place and we were truly blessed to have this time with her.  Rest in peace, Nana.  We love you.

(And I hope Heaven has some amazing bowling and Bingo games!  And kitties...lots of kitties.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Follow-Up

Today we had our follow-up appointment with the behavioral specialist.  We didn't find out a heck of a lot more than his initial conclusions when we were there the first time.  The doctor went over the final report and we chatted a bit about next steps.  The good news, I guess, is that Jacob doesn't really "have" anything.  There's no set diagnosis at this point.  No ADHD (yet) and nothing on the autism spectrum.  He did say that if he does have ADHD, it could become more apparent in the coming years as school gets more demanding, but as of yet he doesn't see it.  He went over some of the symptoms that made people think it might be Asperger's, but ultimately he only has some of the symptoms to warrant a diagnosis (particularly with the new standards, but he didn't qualify under the old ones either), and those are basically just sort of coincidental.

Ultimately we just have a challenging child.  He has a very particular personality, likes things a certain way, and tends to be a little more egocentric than most kids his age.  And when you consider how egocentric most kids are, to think ours is more than average....well, yikes. 

He didn't have a lot of advice to offer.  He said to continue having him see the therapist and continue to visit with the school counselor and psychologist, because those things are going to help him become more self-aware and teach him how to get past some of the behaviors.  We need to continue to help him at home using the reward system we were using (but slacked off on for a bit), and pay attention to his body to look for signs of anxiety or tiredness, and try to manage those things as much as we can.  Between school and sports right now, things are a little nuts, so we'll have to see how summer changes things, as well.  One of the biggest things is working with the staff at the school to get the best teacher possible for him for next year.  If the people who have spent time with him can help determine the teacher that's going to be the most flexible and caring for his specific needs, that would be one of the biggest things we can do to help him.  The doctor said that people just need to get to know him and understand his specific quirks and tendencies to better help him along.  Rather than assume he's a bad kid, they can understand his needs and do what they can to tailor his learning experience. 

While I understood and agreed with the things the doctor was saying, I'll admit that I'm not entirely sure what to do now.  As comforting as this non-diagnosis is, it doesn't get him any help.  No, he doesn't have a learning disability hanging over his head, which is great.  He's very intelligent, and in theory he could outgrow or adjust to the challenges he has, so in that way he's in a much better position than he would be with a real diagnosis.  But it's clear that right now he does have some major issues, and we need to figure out how to manage them until he learns to do it himself.  We're doing our best to work with him right now and keep his special needs in mind, but that's still not enough.  He's been having a tough time following the rules at home and school has been a disaster for a few weeks now.  He's consistently been below the "green" level of their behavior chart, often missing the note home by just a bit.  He's been to the principal once, had a note home, and just gotten consistently bad results.   And since home isn't much better I can't help but wonder...If we, who have known him since birth, can't find the right way to fully understand and better manage him, how is anyone else going to do that?  I have a hard time remembering in the moment why he might be doing what he's doing, so I can't imagine other people are going to be able to do it consistently.  I sympathize with his teacher, because it's hard to give Jacob the attention he needs to stay focused while managing 20-some other kids.  I think she could do it better sometimes, but I fully understand why it's a constant struggle.  I'm not sure what advice to give other people at this point since we can barely manage it ourselves, but I guess it's still comforting to know that there isn't something cognitively wrong.  We just have a bigger challenge than most people. 

I knew when we started down this road that it was going to be a long process, but I had no idea how long and how twisting of a road it was going to be.  No easy answers, no quick fixes.  Jacob hasn't fit into one perfect category all along, and I guess it tells us under no uncertain terms what we've known all along--that we have a very special, very unique child.  He's got some very special gifts and I think ultimately he'll have something amazing to offer this world.  It's a very daunting task being the ones with the best opportunity to help him get to that point.  God help us.  We'll need it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Weekend of Random

It was a weird weekend.  Well, I guess it wasn't really, but it just felt a little like that.  Why?  I have no clue.  I think part of it was that Craig was around Friday night and all day Sunday, which isn't that rare but I guess when you sort of mentally prepare yourself to be alone on the weekends (for one thing or another), it feels funny when someone is there.  We had a lot of stuff going on, but there was downtime, too.  There were good moments and not-so-good moments and seemingly-insignificant-but-not-really moments.  Parts of it were definitely under the shadow of the Ben Sauer story, which was still very top-of-mind, particularly Saturday morning when I knew his memorial service was taking place (I couldn't bring myself to watch, particularly since I was alone with the kids).  Let's see if I can explain this weird dynamic a little better.

Friday night we just stuck close to home and the boys watched a movie.  I've been trying to get Carter to bed earlier because he just seems to need it.  Jacob was always content to be up a little later, but Carter melts down past a certain point so I've been making it a point to get him ready for bed as soon as I can after dinner.  It keeps him happier and gives me a little extra time to do my own stuff, which is a win-win.  Getting Jacob down on time is a lot more complicated, which is probably why his bedtime has always been a little later.

Jacob was up bright and early on Saturday, but he did spend some time keeping himself occupied.  Carter slept in late.  That meant that we had some slightly extended time in bed before having to get up for good.  It's nice when that happens, even if we've been awake since 7am.  Despite having curtains, the early sunrises are messing badly with Jacob's sense of time.  Even though his clock turns green at 7am, he still routinely comes in our room earlier looking for company.  UGH.

Craig had to be up and out of the house relatively early to get ready for the Knighthawks game, and Jacob had baseball at noon.  After a lazy start, we really had to get a move on to get ready on time.  I brought Carter's lunch with us and gave Jacob a bit of a snack before we left.  We got to the field on time, only to find out that some clinic that the league had set up with the Red Wings (our local pro team) was pushing everything back an hour.  That was unfortunate for a lot of reasons, namely that I had a baby that needed to nap and that meant an extra hour to wait for Jacob and I to eat our lunches.  Very inconvenient.  And, of course, it rained like crazy late in the week and it stopped just in time to allow the fields to be playable.  Which meant that the rest of the complex was still a little swampy in places and the grass wasn't really anywhere I wanted Carter to be crawling.  I was really hoping they'd cancel, but no such luck.

Still, Jacob got a kick out of throwing pitches next to a Red Wing player during the clinic, and the baseball game itself was delightful.  I have no idea who won, but it was nice to have a game with real outs!  There's still a lot of leeway as far as strikes and balls, but there was some sort of "strikeout" limit because kids didn't always make it on base.  And if the ball beat a kid to the base, they were out.  So while there still isn't any crazy strategy going on, it's more interesting than t-ball by far.  I ended up grabbing a slice of pizza at the game to keep me sane, and Craig dropped in from work to catch the end of the game, which was cool.  Jacob did great, going 3-for-3 with at least one run scored.  He touched home one other time, but the kids were all being called in at that point and I don't know if there was an out elsewhere or Jacob's score reached some sort of threshold.  It appeared to Craig that a certain number of runs may trigger the end of an inning, but it's hard to tell. 
That's Jacob with the #8 and blue helmet, apparently either trying to psych up his team or give Natalie a headache.

Warming up at third base

Practice swing

Ready to go with a real catcher...and he can't wait to play catcher next game!

Carter, in the meantime, was miserable.  He ate his food just fine early on, but by the middle of the game he was inconsolable.  He didn't want to be up or down, or with Craig or me, and ultimately he just needed to nap.  End of story.  But as great as he is at putting himself to sleep in his own bed, he is that bad at being put to sleep anywhere else that is not a moving car.  It took a while, but he finally went down.  And although he woke up briefly when we got home, I rushed him right into his room and he went back down again...for over three hours!  I had to wake him up to eat dinner before we headed out for the Knighthawks game.

During those three hours, I tried to rest.  I was beat from a tough couple hours outside (cold weather, cranky baby), and although Jacob interrupted me a dozen times, I did sneak in a little rest here and there.  Not much, but enough to get me through the rest of the day.  Incredibly, Jacob didn't nap and didn't fall asleep on the way to the game, either, which almost never happens.  He also stayed awake the entire ride home, which is also rare if he didn't sleep earlier.  See, weird day.

The Knighthawks game was insane.  The league changed their playoff format this year, and the last two rounds are now both two-game series.  If each team wins one game, the teams play a ten minute mini-game (not to be confused with overtime), and the winner of the mini-game moves on.  Well, the Knighthawks lost last weekend to Buffalo, meaning they had to win both the main game and the mini-game to advance.  Lacrosse is such a game of runs and momentum, so only having ten minutes to win the final "game" was a scary prospect.  After a slow start, the Knighthawks picked up speed and never looked back in the main game.  They won 13-8.  In the mini-game, Buffalo took an early 1-0 lead.  By that point I was getting horribly nervous and had to get up and walk with the kids just to stay sane.  As we got up, the Knighthawks tied the score!  We paced the walkway at the top of the arena (I figured it was a little quieter up there, for Carter's sake--he was cranky and overtired, despite his nap), and time ticked down.  When the 10 minutes were up, the score was tied...which meant overtime.  Dreaded overtime.  Lacrosse is such a fast game that overtime can be over in a matter of seconds, and by that point I was a bundle of nerves.  Buffalo had two great chances right off the bat, but our goalie held strong.  Suddenly a Knighthawk was headed down the floor on a partial breakaway, and *gasp*......HE SCORED! 

So....the Knighthawks are on their way to the championship for the third straight year.  Craig will be in Calgary this weekend for game one, and game two will be back in Rochester on the 31st.  It's going to be one heck of a battle, but it would be amazing to see the Knighthawks complete the three-peat, especially here in Rochester.  This setup works out better for my crazy schedule at the end of this month, so all I can say at this point is that it's going to be an interesting couple weeks.

Sunday morning was a tough one.  I had a hard time getting up, Craig hadn't gotten in until very late, Carter slept until 9:30, and even Jacob didn't come bug us until 7:30.  Unfortunately, we didn't get going quite soon enough, and in the end I figured it wasn't worth barking at my family to hurry up and get ready.  We were all beat and it was one of those mornings where the tiredness and crankiness would probably offset the good we'd get out of church.  So, home we stayed for a lazy morning.  I hate doing that, but sometimes it's just better. 

On the bright side, while finishing up breakfast, I noticed that there was some activity at the house next door.  Our elderly neighbor died last summer, and the house has been empty since.  His family has been there periodically keeping up the yard and cleaning things out, but things had been pretty quiet.  Last week they left the garage light on and it was on for over a week.  The yard was a jungle, too.  They got the yard mowed, and then I noticed they had set out some stuff on a table.  A little while later I saw them writing on garage sale signs, and I realized they were doing some sort of sale.  I wanted to stop over and introduce myself, so I took Carter with me and headed over.  Turned out it was a household sale--not as elaborate as an estate sale, but mostly a lot of random stuff that was left, with no set prices.  I chatted with one of the daughters for a while.  I heard the full story of her dad's passing and expressed my condolences (since I didn't know he had died until the funeral was past), and mentioned how sweet he was to Jacob.  It was nice to talk to them and get a little closure on his passing.  Oh, and I also got a sweet deal on a couple bag lawn chairs.

That afternoon we went to the RIT lacrosse game, a game that could have sent them to the NCAA finals.  Unfortunately, they got smoked.  But it was my first game there and it was pretty cool to hang out on the campus.  I've really only been there for the Corporate Challenge (again next week!), so it was fun to be there for something else and get my bearings for next week.  In between stints of watching the game, the big boys played lacrosse off to the side.  Carter and I stayed back with our chairs and a blanket.



Carter's unorthodox technique - eating the webbing

A woman came over and asked how old he was, and remarked that she'd never seen someone that young playing with a stick, and how it was the cutest thing she'd ever seen!
On our way back to the car, I wanted to take the long way so I could take a few pictures.  First this one...
Hard to see, but "RIT" and their tiger paw print are painted on the hill outside the fieldhouse.
I don't know if these were left over from graduation or something else, but I loved these balloon towers...and so did Carter!

I guess these are tulips but they weren't spent like most are right now, and their shape was so cool.


Not sure what this flower is, but I like it.

This was from a tree.  So pretty...

After the game we stopped at the giant Barnes and Noble on the campus to visit the campus store (and drool over the (probably insanely overpriced) housing options in the complex of shops and restaurants.  We grabbed a quick dinner out, stopped for a couple errands, and headed home for the night.

So...anyway, I don't know why it felt weird.  Maybe it was an odd mix of running around yet still having downtime, or being able to do something with Craig instead of being stuck in the house wishing for naps.  We have so much coming up in the remaining 12 days this month, and a lot of it is exciting, but I definitely need to start preparing for the craziness.  Way too much to think about these days.  But for tonight we'll enjoy this face...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Top Ten Reasons Carter is Part Puppy

Before I get into the silliness, Carter turns 15 months today.  That's halfway between 12 and 18 months, people.  One quarter of the way from 1 to 2.  Holy cow.  Anyway...

When Carter was first born, there was a commercial on TV where a kid talked about having a "Puppy Brother".  We laughed about it at the time, but it turns out that's just what Jacob got--his very own puppy brother.  His Halloween costume may have been one of the first real signs, but here's the rest of the evidence:
Cute puppy!


1) He carries things in his mouth - He doesn't do it as often now as he used to, but once in a while I will still see Carter crawl around the house with something in his mouth.  For a while it was an everyday occurrence. 

2) He prefers to get around on all fours - Fifteen months tomorrow and he still prefers crawling above any other form of transportation.  He has taken many steps, but he rarely does it on his own despite lots of cheering from us when he does.  I know his balance isn't fantastic, particularly because he's always in a rush to get anywhere, but I think the confidence is still lacking a bit.  Still, all fours is the way to go for him.

3) He eats food off the floor - Carter is making me feel seriously guilty about my housekeeping skills.  But with two kids it's almost impossible to keep up with the crumbly kitchen floor every day, so nearly every day I catch him picking up some spec of something and putting it in his mouth.  Seriously?!  Most of the time it's food, but it's been a lot of other stuff, too.  I've said that he's probably eased up his rice intolerance just by sneaking crumbs of various items made of rice flour.  But seriously, we probably wouldn't even need a dog if I let him loose in the kitchen!

4) He chews on everything - I'm guessing it has something to do with his molars coming in, but he is chewing on everything.  A couple weeks ago he picked up one of my new patent leather black pumps and started gnawing on the heel, leaving a bunch of tiny little teeth marks.  Ugh!  But he will chew on anything...balls, toys, remote controls, shoe laces, his own shoes, and pretty much whatever else we let him hold.  He's also been attempting to chew on body parts (not his own, most of the time) when he gets the chance.  It's getting a little frustrating, to be honest, because he'll beg to hold onto something and it seems innocent enough, but inevitably he pops whatever it is right into his mouth.

5) He was born furry - He has mostly shed the coating of hair that covered nearly every part of his body when he was born, but man, he was a hairy kid.  He still has a bit of a unibrow and his coloring is so much darker than Jacob, but fortunately he did not keep his full coating.  But when he was born it was across his forehead, down the edges of his ears, and all over his back and shoulders.  It was sort of funny and sweet at the time, but yeah, I'm glad he ditched most of it.  Now if we could get the hair on top of his head to grow as fast as the hair on the back of his head, that would be great.

6) He loves people food - I hear dogs can be very picky about their food, and likewise, Carter was never a big fan of baby food.  Of course, his issues with rice cereal didn't help matters.  It was hard to get in a groove with eating amidst all of that, and so many of the tastier baby foods had rice flour anyway.  But people food?  Oh man, this kid cannot get enough.  Boredom is pretty much the only thing that can pull him away from a source of food.  He loves meat--all of it, from beef to chicken to turkey to ham to sausage.  He eats his veggies most of the time, and even though he's strangely a little more hit or miss on fruit, he will pretty much try anything.  He is a bottomless pit a lot of the time, and in that way he couldn't be more different than his brother!

7) He loves to sleep - Ok, so getting him down for a nap usually involves him melting down to the point of misery, but the kid loves his crib most of the time.  He often stretches for it when I'm holding him and gladly goes to sleep most of the time once he's in there.  He settles so much easier than Jacob ever did.  He sleeps through the night 99% of the time, and sleeps in pretty well a lot of the time, too.  He's also a much better napper than Jacob ever was.  He's a little iffy at daycare, but at home I can usually get 2-3 hours out of him no problem.  Jacob was a little over an hour if I was lucky.  It is glorious, and it's part of the reason why I can't have a third baby--he has totally spoiled me.

8) He likes to make a mess - Anything accessible inevitably ends up somewhere else once he gets his hands on it.  Papers on the table end up on the floor.  There will be magnetic letters and animals from the fridge littering my kitchen and dining room floors.  There's a walker at the bottom of the stairs, a car in the dining room, and shoes under the table and ottoman in his room.  A pack of diapers from his open closet are in the doorway, and books are pulled out of his bookshelf and left at Jacob's doorway after he slides it there as he crawls.  He loves to empty baskets (though he is starting to get the hang of putting things away, which is lovely), and the farther he can scatter things, the better.  We don't call him "Hurricane Carter" for nothing...

9) He likes cars and balls - Dogs are known for chasing cars and fetching balls, and those happen to be two of Carter's favorite things.  He loves throwing balls and still pretty much only says, "Ball" as his only word.  He does say "No" and shake his pointer finger at me (hmmmm, wonder where he ever picked that up?), and he has said "Ni-Ni" before when I told him "Night Night", but "ball" is the major one.  He also loves cars and trucks and can often be seen crawling around pushing one as he goes.  Super cute and stereotypical boy moment, for sure.  And in case you needed evidence of the ball phenomenon, here it is:



10) He makes a lot of noise to get attention - Like a dog with yip or bark, Carter uses noise to make sure he gets noticed.  He will screech or yell at the drop of a hat to get you to pay attention to him or do what he wants.  When I'm not quick enough giving him food or getting him out of his seat, he screeches.  When I don't let him play with the stuff on his changing table or on the coffee table, he screams.  I'd really like him to learn how to talk a little bit so he can express himself a little better, but it's been very slow to come.  So instead we deal with the screaming and do our best guessing.  I'm not really thrilled about his habit, but we're trying to break him of it.  Oh, and if making noise doesn't work, he will try to climb up your leg.  Such a silly kid.

Bonus: He will not sit still - The other day my co-worker was telling me about a dachshund parade she went to see last weekend, and and she said that someone tried putting their dog in the middle of a gorgeous tulip bed to take a picture.  The dog kept getting up and walking away, and she kept grabbing it and putting it back to try again.  I guess this went on and on for a while.  I remarked that it sounds like me with my kids.  When I am getting Carter changed, either in the morning or at bedtime, I probably reposition him about a dozen times, at least.  He's constantly flipping over and grabbing for stuff in the basket next to the table.  And I'm constantly telling him no and flipping him back on his back since it's easier to snap onesies or put on sleepers in that position.  It is ridiculous.  And that's just on the changing table, let alone when I'm trying to take pictures or prevent him from tearing apart the rest of the house. 

So, yes, Carter is apparently part puppy.  He's also ridiculously cute, full of saliva, and fussy when I trim his nails.  The comparisons just keep coming.  He's such a goofball and we love him so much.  Puppy or person, it doesn't make a difference.  We're just happy he's here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"C" Words

If life were Sesame Street, this post would be brought to you by the letter "C".

C is for cancer.  Cancer sucks.  Duh.  But it really sucks today, because it took the life of an inspiring little boy last night.  Ben Sauer, the kid known in Western New York as #Blue4Ben, passed away last night after a three-month battle with brain cancer.  He started to get headaches in January, and when he was diagnosed a couple weeks later, it was already stage 4.  The tumor grew rapidly, and even after having a lot of it removed and getting radiation, it tripled in size and there wasn't much more that could be done.  He hung on for so much longer than anyone expected, but he went downhill rapidly in the past few weeks.  He managed to live long enough to celebrate his fifth birthday with his twin brother last week, but he went to be with Jesus last night. 

His story captured the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of people all over the world, but all of Western New York in particular was swept up in his story.  Buildings and bridges were lit blue in his honor.  Offices, schools, and organizations dressed in blue (my office included).  Likely millions of prayers were sent heavenward asking for a miracle, but in the end most of them just asked for peace for his family--his parents, brother, sister, and an unborn sister he never got to meet.  His story is tragic in how fast it all happened and how horribly it ravaged his otherwise healthy body.  Still, his mom's testimony through her blog has been amazing.  Her faith has been strong, but her emotions have been raw and honest.  Her post just the other day was absolutely heartbreaking.  I challenged people on Facebook to read it and not cry.  It was a very vivid illustration of the final days watching your child die of cancer.  Unimaginable.  My heart breaks over and over again every time I think of another element of their loss.  He was an identical twin.  How will his brother manage without his best friend?  His littlest sister will never know him.  His parents had to watch their perfect baby boy become helpless, then die.  While the support of thousands of people around the world must be amazing, there is nothing that can bring Ben back.  They definitely have some peace knowing that Ben is at peace and healed in Heaven, but oh, how they will miss him on earth.  I just can't put it into words, but it sure makes our problems seem small and insignificant.

The other "C" word in this post is "Control".  Since Jacob's behavior worsened over the past couple weeks and now Carter is getting harder to manage, I've caught myself falling back on an old coping mechanism I remember using before when things got tough--fixing all of the little problems instead.  When you can't control the big things, try to control all of the little stuff.  I keep finding myself brainstorming to fix all of the things that are bugging me.  For example, we have a lot of plants floating around this house, and I can't bear to get rid of them.  They were clogging up my kitchen, the sunniest place in the house, and it was making me nuts.  Suddenly I realized that I could put up a TV tray in our dining room and put all of the plants there.  Still good sun, but away from Carter's main paths and out of my kitchen!  Perfect!  One less thing to bother me.

I keep thinking about how I'd like to reorganize things, or which things around the house that I'd like to fix....or I drive myself nuts about the things that need fixing but I'm just not sure how or when or with what money.  There are piles all over my house...newspapers, magazines, school papers, and the dreaded artwork pile.  I have paperwork that needs filing, coupons that need cutting, landscaping that needs a lot of work, and so much more.  I need to take at least a day off of work just for that stuff alone.  I swear I could spend a full week at home alone and still not get it all done.  But it occurred to me that I fall into this sort of mindset whenever everything else is a mess and I feel the need to do something to make life better.  Or maybe I'm just trying to minimize the random annoyances so I'm not as bothered by the big ones.  But finding the time and energy to do those things is not easy.  At night I vent on this blog or do some research on one topic or another (lately it's been minivans and booster seats), or sort through pictures or read the paper.  I'm just too tired to do much else. 

At this point I'm just trying to get through the week, see how the Knighthawks game goes on Saturday, and then plan accordingly once I know if Craig has two more weekends of work or none.  I want the Knighthawks to win, for sure, but I'll admit that if they lose a few things will be easier in the next couple weeks.  But playoff runs are always fun, so I guess it'll be worth it in the end.  Just a lot of coordinating in the meantime. 

Ok, off to finish up a couple things before bed...and then sleep, lots of sleep.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Picture Perfect?

Sunday was my sixth official Mother's Day, seventh if you count the gray area of being pregnant on Mother's Day.  All these years later and I'm still not entirely sure what to make of the day.  On one hand it's nice to get cards and handmade crafts, but on the other I'm tough to buy for and (like all other holidays) we travel to Buffalo--for the benefit of our mothers--and it's usually a long, busy day.  Nice, in general, but busy.  So busy I had to stop at the rest area on my way home yesterday, both because I had a crying baby (sick and probably overtired) and I needed a bit of a sugar rush to get me home safely.  Not exactly the stuff great Mother's Days are made of, I suppose, but I am blessed with a great mother myself and two adorable children, so I really can't complain.  I will have to try to post some pictures of this year's crafts, because they're pretty darn cute.  Jacob's "mom profile" project was pretty classic.

Mother's Day is probably one day where social media can drive me a little nuts.  I guess I find myself a little jealous of other people--be it their fancy brunches (which we will never do because they are gluten-filled), their perfect presents, or their blissful joy over the motherhood experience.  Quite frankly, this year it was hard.  Jacob has had a particularly difficult week.  I swear, it's like a hormonal imbalance or something--some weeks he's manageable and pleasant, others he's impossible and disrespectful about everything.  This week was full of arguments and crude comments, personal space invasions and bad school reports.  Carter is so very sweet and happy a lot of the time, but he is such a challenge sometimes now that he wants to be more mobile (but still refuses to walk unless you hold his hand) and he gets into everything.  He will grab everything he can and put most of it in his mouth.  Stones, crayons, remote controls, paper, fuzz, crumbs, you name it.  If it's not his toy, he is far more interested in it than in anything else.  He flips on the changing table constantly, screams for food or attention at the drop of a hat, and is forever trying to invade Jacob's territory, which makes both of them that much more miserable--Jacob gets annoyed and angry, and Carter gets rejected.  Ugh.  Needless to say, it's been a rough week and Mother's Day didn't feel all that warm and fuzzy this year.  At least, I had a hard time mustering up any sort of "My kids are the best" or "Motherhood has made me a better person" or "I wouldn't change a thing" types of social media platitudes this year.  I love my kids, but I am tired and I just wish things could feel easy once in a while.

Maybe part of my slump this year is that last year my Mother's Day was spent finishing off a crazy, exhausting adventure.  I'd spent most of three days away, and while I felt guilty for most of it, the chance to get off and do something crazy was amazing.  On top of seeing new things and being there for another Knighthawks championship, I got to sleep in and go for a run and make a random detour and eat whenever and wherever I wanted.  Those little things don't happen often with kids, and the chance to do them without running through the ongoing list in my head or considering the possible kid-related consequences was so freeing.  A year later I feel like my non-kid, non-work time is extra limited.  I know that will get better when Craig's season is over and he's around on weekends, but it's been six months of really limited time and I'm having a bit of a pity party about it these days.  I hate that the handful of really fun, really important things I want to do (or wanted to do) are all challenged by my ability to find child care because Craig is busy--concerts I'd like to attend, a girls weekend like I haven't had in seven years, the Chase Corporate Challenge, the Stroll for Strong (which is kid-friendly but in the middle of Jacob's baseball schedule)...you get the idea.  Right now I'm trying to pick a day to take off of work simply to organize all of Jacob's artwork from the last five years.  Seriously.  It is overflowing from a corner of our office and it needs to get kept, photographed, or tossed ASAP.  Because now Carter's is starting to come in, too.  Anyway, I guess the contrast between last year's adventure and my frustration this year probably didn't help my mood.

I don't mean to complain.  I know how blessed we are.  Our kids are relatively healthy, we both have jobs, we have a nice house, and many comforts of life that the vast majority of the world will never know.  I get that and I am thankful.  There are a lot of other people's problems that I would not want.  This is not some sort of pissing match (sorry, I know that's a rough term, but I can't think of a better one) about who's got it worse.  Life is hard, no matter who you are or what you do.  It's all about trying to find a way to muddle through the hard and find the beauty and the good wherever you can.

Fortunately, spring is a great time to go looking for beauty.  And I must say, the past few days have provided some great fodder.  The weather has finally turned a corner.  While there is rain in the forecast every day this week, the temps are mostly sticking in the 60s and 70s, which is heavenly after the winter we had.  All of the trees and flowers are finally popping, and it is lovely to watch.

Every week I go out to lunch with a couple friends from my sports days.  One works in the same building as I do, and the other is down the road.  We all meet up once a week and eat at one place or another.  This past Friday only the guy in my building could make it, so we headed out and over a block to a very popular street meat cart.  We waited in line in the blazing sun, enjoying the weather but a bit surprised at how hot it was!  No complaints, though!  We took our food into a nearby park and grabbed a bench.  It was a lovely view.
In the center is a fountain with these flipping pieces that splash the water out.  In the winter I've seen it iced up nearly to the top!  My building is just visible, the white stripes in the upper right.  I used to look out at the roof of the beige building in front of it.

Similar view, but off to my left from the previous shot.  The building you're seeing is the Bausch & Lomb world headquarters...but it won't be that for long.  I've mostly only ever eaten lunch in that building, as they have one of the few remaining downtown cafeterias.

I love tulips.  They're so happy and cheery.  I just wish they lasted longer.  You can see that fountain in the background of this shot, too.
On Saturday Carter woke up a bit earlier than usual, then proceeded to put himself down to an early nap.  I put him in "baby jail" so I could shower and get ready in preparation for getting on the road to Buffalo as soon as possible once the boys got home from baseball practice.  He always whines for me a bit when I leave him, no matter how many dozen toys are in there with him, but this time, after a while it got suspiciously quiet and sure enough, he'd fallen asleep.  Poor kid.  I did manage to transfer him to his crib, and while I waited for him to wake up, I managed to sneak outside for just a couple minutes (literally) so I could capture a couple things in the yard.
We have this tree in our yard that was not staked properly when it was first planted, and as such, it is very crooked.  I hate it for that reason.  But it does this in the spring, which makes it very hard for me to get rid of it.  I've appreciated it even more in the past couple years, since one year when we had a heat wave early in the spring it bloomed prematurely and a frost immediately turned everything brown.  That was a bummer.

I find it hard to get a good picture of forsythia, but I sort of like this one.
We got to spend time with my parents from Saturday afternoon to just after lunch on Sunday.  Jacob wanted to spend most of that time outside playing sports, and Carter just wanted to be tearing the house apart.  It was exhausting a lot of time for all of us grown-ups, but we survived.  On Sunday I made Jacob dress up in his Easter clothes so Grandma could see him in person, and we stayed dressed up for a bit to take some pictures...of which this one was the best...
Aside from my squinty-ness and the slightly pained look on Jacob's face, anyway...
On our way out of town on Saturday we stopped to pick up some flowers for my mom.  I picked out a hydrangea (I like to pick things that can be replanted, if possible.  Seems a little more useful than flowers that will die in a week), and Jacob picked out some lovely rainbow roses...


As I said, Carter was getting into everything.  Have I mentioned that we call him "Hurricane Carter"?
Peeking in Grandma's cabinets!
After lunch we headed off to meet up with Craig, who was hanging out with his family.  He'd come separately since the Knighthawks were playing in Buffalo Saturday night.  We had a nice BBQ with his parents and his brother's family.  Carter loved his time with his cousins, and Jacob (as usual) just wanted to play baseball with them.  Carter also loved all of the snacks out on the coffee table and picnic table--crackers, chips, cheese, and pretzels--and seemed to fill up on those before dinner.  Oops.  I could not keep him away and it was driving me nuts!  He was loving the carbs.  He's going to put meat on that skinny frame of his eventually.  His thighs are beefing up, but he's still so skinny everywhere else except his cheeks!  Of course, after all of that he refused most of what I offered him for dinner.  Arg. 

I would have loved to spend more time outside, but Carter is not much of a fan yet.  He's not sure he likes grass, and concrete probably isn't the best choice for him right now.  I've been working on getting him to wear a hat since he doesn't have much hair to protect his hair, but he generally hates them.  I did show him his reflection in the mirror wearing a baseball cap and he seemed to like it, so maybe that will help.  He was much more accommodating after that, so fingers crossed.  And I even took a picture of us while he was wearing it...
The hat is still a little big, but not too bad...and you'd laugh if I told you how old Jacob was when he wore it.  Carter's head is huge.  He's also wearing his souvenir shirt from our Disney trip for the first time, and I'm afraid he's going to outgrow it too quickly because his torso is so stinkin' long.  Silly boy.  Gotta love him, though.
We left around 7:30 in our separate cars.  Carter conked out in mine within about two minutes.  But then he woke up about a half hour in and was crying and whining, as he'd been doing in the car all weekend.  I have no idea why.  If it's just that he hates being in the car seat, hopefully the switch to the big boy seat in the next week or so will help with that.  But it could be his teeth or all the congestion he's had lately.  I was exhausted myself, so I felt it wise to stop at the rest area, grab a snack at Tim Hortons, and give Carter some Tylenol that might help him relax and sleep.  All of the above helped us have a quick and uneventful second half of the drive home.  Carter even stayed asleep when we got home and slept through the night.  Jacob, on the other hand, stayed up the whole trip and did not want to go to bed.  One out of two isn't bad, I guess. 

So, it was a day.  Not a bad one, not an outstandingly great one...a mixed bag of good and frustrating, just like most days.  Family time is always good, so that's a plus.  But a little less crazy mommy would be even better.  Someday, I hope.  But the pictures above are lovely, regardless.  I realized a few weeks back while looking at our Disney pictures that the good stuff tends to float to the top.  When looking at our Disney pictures, I saw the good moments, not the bad stuff that happened in between (and trust me, there was lots of it).  In past years it's been the opposite--that even the "good moment" pictures brought back memories of the extreme effort it took to get the picture--but I'm hoping that as time goes along, more and more the good moments will be the ones that stick.  This time is going so fast and I need to enjoy it all while I can.  It won't always be picture perfect, but there is good to be seen somewhere in there.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Adventure...One Year Later

Fifty-two weeks ago right now, I was in the car on my way to my parents, driving alone with two sleeping kids in the back, on my way to a crazy adventure.  I had made the last-minute decision to join the Knighthawks in British Columbia for the championship game, and I had to drag myself and the kids to Buffalo after a long day of work, just so I could be there and ready for a possible early morning stand-by flight.  I ended up not getting any sleep that night, which was awful, but in the end the trip was amazing.  I can't believe it's been a year.  The only reason I remembered it was this weekend was because I flew back on Mother's Day, full of guilt that a) I was away from my kids on my first Mother's Day as a mom of two; and b) that my "thank you gift" to my mom on her Mother's Day was dealing with my two crazy kids.  This year, however, the Knighthawks season is longer--two games longer, plus an extended playoff schedule.  Now the last two rounds are two-game series across two weekends, so this weekend is only the first game of round two (they had a first round bye), conveniently in Buffalo.  They will play again next weekend at home, and if they win both (or win one plus a deciding mini-game at the end of game two), they'll advance to another two game, two weekend series, wrapping up at the very end of the month.  And trust me, the only way I'd go this year is if I was offered an all-expense paid trip.  I have an event to attend on May 31st, and the two potential final opponents involve very pricey flights to Canada.  Never say never, I guess, but the odds are slim.

Anyway...those two nights I spent away from the kids mark the last nights Craig and I have spent alone.  Every night since that time we have had at least one kid in my/our presence.  I love my kids, but that seems a bit excessive when it comes to my mental and marital health.  I can't tell you the last time I had a good night's sleep...or maybe I can.  It was probably 363 days ago.  I went to bed at 10:30pm and woke up at 6:15am, which considering the time change wasn't too bad.  It was a deep, restful sleep, and I felt like a million bucks when I woke up.  I haven't had that feeling since.

I am tired.  I don't get enough sleep.  I go to bed too late because I try to cram all of my "me time" into the hours after the kids are in bed, and it takes longer than I'd like.  I wake up early but hit snooze for quite a while because I'm just too tired.  I've been craving naps on weekends for a few weeks now (though I'm hoping that switching my allergy medicine schedule might help with that), and I feel a deep-to-the-core need to rest and recharge without worrying about taking care of the kids or wondering who is going to wake me up first. 

I also want to reconnect with my husband.  All of this kid time really gets in the way of us.  We're fine, I guess, but when you constantly have kids talking over you or shrieking through dinner, it's hard to have a normal conversation, let alone truly connect.  We're usually playing man-to-man defense after dinner, and by the time the kids are in bed, we're both exhausted and content to veg out in front of the TV and our respective computers.  Sad, I know.  It's hard to get in the mood when we're so tired and when we know a kid could come running down the hall any second.  I'm a lot less nervous since I installed a lock on our door, but it's still a challenge most of the time.  We really just need to get away.  I don't care if it's for a day, a weekend, or a week.  We need it.  But for the moment, Jacob's school and Craig's work are hard to work around.  I eye up Groupons for Niagara Falls, and dream about a fancier one in Vegas or the Caribbean.  Not now, but maybe someday.  He and I need that adventure, that time to reconnect and make memories for ourselves that don't inherently include the kids.  I hear too often about how couples grow older and their kids move out, and suddenly without that common bond they're not sure what they have in common anymore.  I don't want to lose myself, or us, and put our marriage at risk like that.  As hard as it is, it's important to get away and recharge, in so many ways.  But right now that's just not in the cards, and it concerns me a bit because I feel that need so deeply right now. 

While I accept that having two kids means busy days crammed into a no-frills routine, I still yearn for adventure.  Not necessarily crazy adventure, mind you, but the opportunity to explore new places, or get a second, better look at an old place.  I dream of places full of great photo ops, new activities, tasty food, and at least a little less responsibility than I manage on a daily basis.  You just need some of that every once in a while to keep those juices flowing, and it's been too long.  Even our illness-shortened trip to Toronto seemed like an adventure, and even that one didn't work out. 

I don't mean to complain.  We're lucky to have two boys and be so blessed in general, but sometimes you just need a little change of pace.  And a little sleep.  One of these days.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Sports and Stuff

We've officially entered a very challenging phase for the next couple months, where Jacob is doing two sports at once.  He was only going to do baseball this summer, but then we found out that his lacrosse team was going to play at the Knighthawks game and he needed to be part of the spring season to do it, so we figured we'd give it a shot.  However...the schedules are nearly identical so we're going to have to make it work one way or another.  I'm leaving all of that up to Craig, but the schedule is a major challenge for me regardless, because it means 2-3 nights per week with a late dinner, and early Saturday mornings, too.  I thought last year was a challenge with two nights of baseball, but this year we have the gluten issue complicating things further, since convenience meals and pizza takeout aren't the ideal options they once were.  Jacob is also eating PB&J for lunch every day, so it's not a great dinner option this year.  I'm definitely feeling a little stuck, and we're not even into the worst of it yet. 
 
Saturday was Jacob's first non-rained-out practice for baseball, and after a week of rain, the ground was soaked.  I had worked the concession stand with a couple other moms on Friday, and my rain boots came up huge since walking across the grass was a swampy prospect.  Saturday wasn't any better, and it was cold and windy.  Craig had to go up to Canada for Knighthawks practice and to watch their two potential opponents for this coming weekend duke it out, so it was all me.  I went prepared with Carter's lunch (he napped right up until we left) and hoped for the best, but it was a rough 90 minutes.  The ground was too soft and muddy to let him "walk" or crawl, so he got frustrated pretty quickly.  We took a stroller ride and tried anything I could think of that wouldn't leave him muddy, but he was pretty miserable.  Jacob did well and was excited to get his new jersey, hat, and socks.  He's still on the Red Sox, but with a new look this year.
 
 
Sunday when Craig returned home, the boys played three rounds of baseball outside, even though it was rather chilly.  I knew Jacob would get back into baseball once the season got here, and I think it will be interesting to watch him play this year since they actually use outs now!
 
I felt like it had been too long since I took pictures of Carter, so I wanted to make sure I snapped a couple of him.  He's getting so big and handsome... 

Looking in the "hood" of his car...he loves shifting to make the balls pop out!
He's turning into a total ham, and I love when he flaps his lips with his finger, claps, and constantly points at balls, saying "Ba".  Sounds a lot like his brother, although it's clear that his obsession doesn't run quite as deep.  Where Jacob could watch sports forever, Carter's attention span is much smaller.  When I brought up Jacob's baby baseball tee toy yesterday, Carter preferred to clap along with the canned crowd noise than to hit the ball with the bat.  Oh, well.


 
Tonight we went to Jacob's first outdoor lacrosse game.  It was cold once again, but at least the sun popped out once in a while.  It was a challenge keeping Carter occupied, despite bringing him his dinner, but at least the ground wasn't quite as messy so he could crawl a bit. 

Jacob did pretty well.  He actually snagged a loose ball tonight, and I swear he had more contact/close encounters with the ball than he did for the entire winter season.  He's still not as enthusiastic about this season, all of a sudden, mostly because the kids are still older and a bit cliquey.  We're still considering trying to get our money back (or push it off to the fall) so he can focus on one sport, but considering how well he did tonight it's hard to tell if taking time off would hurt him in the long run.
My cutie in orange, with his new big boy cleats!

After the game!
We'll just have to see how the next couple months go, but I'm excited to see him continue to learn and improve.  I'm dreading finding ways to amuse a one year old while he's doing all of this, but it'll get easier when the weather improves, I think. 

Not much else to report.  Did I mention one of Carter's molars is finally poking through?  He's been a little extra cranky, so I can't help but wonder if others are working their way in, as well.  Craig has a road game this weekend (conveniently in Buffalo, just in time for Mother's Day), and we have a full slate of sports until then.  I'm crazy busy at work, too, so this week is going to just fly by.  Speaking of which, time to get some sleep so I have the energy to take it all on...