Monday, July 28, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things...

I find summer weekends to be a very delicate balance.  Summer is so short and we try to cram so much in, but it definitely doesn't leave a lot of time for relaxation most of the time.  Usually I can't decide what's more important--enjoy every minute to the fullest, or try to rest up a bit after a long week.  I suppose it's pretty hard to rest with kids anyway, so during the summer in particular we choose to suck it up and push through while the activities are available and the weather is nice enough to make it worth our while.

I love being home and not having to pack up and rush around, but truth be told, too much time at home and we're all driving each other nuts.  Carter won't leave Jacob alone, and Jacob is not particularly nice about expressing his displeasure.  Carter isn't phased, however, so the cycle repeats itself constantly.  Jacob monopolizes Craig's time, Craig just wants to rest, and honestly so do I...but the long-term agony of not getting anything accomplished during Carter's amazing marathon naps tortures me even more than being tired.  So usually I'm cramming in what I can while I can.  Every once in a while I need a weekend at home being productive, but ultimately I feel like the best, most memorable weekends are ones where we get out and explore the world and interact with other people.  I suppose I still like to do it on our own terms, but it's nice to get out and prevent the kids from getting in each other's space.  If it's any indication how things have been lately, my Facebook status on Friday night (already) theorized that the kids must have put aside their differences for long enough to set up a lucrative bet on who can drive Mommy and Daddy nuts first.  Between Jacob's incessant nonsense talk and annoyance with his brother, and Carter's tendency to throw food, follow his brother, and get into everything, by Friday night patience was already wearing thin.

On Saturday we sort of got to sleep in now that baseball is over.  But then we had to get up and start packing for spending the rest of the weekend in Buffalo.  We had our nephew's birthday party on Saturday afternoon, and my family reunion on Sunday.  We got a bit of a late start on Saturday--both because packing was a bit of a challenge and I wanted to let Carter get a decent nap.  We finally got on the road and had a nice time at the party.  The forecast for the weekend had been a little sketchy, but it turned out to be a beautiful day.  There were a couple light sprinkles, enough to create this lovely thing:
There's a rainbow there!
One of the highlights of the weekend was seeing Craig's parents' new puppy!  His name is Teddy, and he is so cute!  He was not sure what to make of Carter, though!  You'd think a baby wouldn't be that intimidating, but perhaps having someone so close to the ground threw him off.  He would follow Carter around, but then the second Carters stopped, Teddy went on the defensive and growled at him.  Luckily he never got mean, just loud, and that made for some cute stuff to watch all weekend...
Pretty sure Teddy was growling here!

Awwww...not sure who's cuter!


What a sweetie!
That night Carter went to bed pretty early, which gave Jacob and me some time to go into the pool and swim.  Craig was out with his dad and brother, so it was just the two of us.  It was glorious.  The pool was so warm, it was a gorgeous night, and we had a really nice time.  We played fake volleyball, raced across the pool, and laughed a lot.  I showed him how I can do a handstand in the pool and impressed him when I dove for a toy.  I'm not really a pool person--I can't open my eyes and I have to plug my nose--but it was really a nice time.  I have loved being in the pool at night ever since I was a little girl.  I remember doing it when visiting my aunt and uncle when I was 12 (and watching planes, most likely taking off from O'Hare), and enjoying it at my mom's cousin's house when our reunion was there every few years.  It's just so peaceful and so comfortable.  Eventually it was bedtime, and while it took him a bit to go down, all in all it wasn't a bad night. 

We had a crazy thunderstorm overnight but the kids slept through it and we woke up to a beautiful sunny day.  Craig and Jacob were back in the pool for a while in the morning, and I spent most of that time watching Carter wander around the house and Teddy try to figure out this tiny human.  At one point Carter picked up this Frisbee ring, and he was sticking his face--and then his whole head--through it.  I snapped this picture, and while it sort of looks like he's got a toilet seat on his head, I can't get over how sweet his face is here...

We headed out around 12:30 and stopped to pick up some extra food for the reunion.  We got to see my parents, some of my aunts and uncles, Lori, and some other assorted more distant relatives.  It wasn't a great turnout, but it was nice.  It was Carter's first time at the reunion, and Jacob's first time back since he got sick there a couple years ago (and again on the drive home--yay).  With one now-healthy kid and one rookie, I was excited to (re)introduce them to a place where I have so many great memories.  I've been going to reunions there as long as I can remember, and I cherish all of the memories of playing there with my cousins.  Playing in the sand, collecting rocks, diving into the waves, and stuffing our faces with amazing fun!  Of course, the post-picnic hangover was always a little rough--full belly, sunburn, long drive, sand and sunscreen everywhere--but it was all a part of the experience.  And I love being able to pass it along to another generation.

Jacob had a great time checking out the sports facilities at the camp with Craig, and after lunch it was time to head down to the beach.  Here is Carter getting his first taste of sand...well, the real taste came a bit later when he tried to actually eat it, but he happily dug in the sand and played with rocks for quite a while.

Jacob got into it, too.  He loved making a mess, and was happy to show me...

He went into the water a bit on his own, too.  He was originally going to bury my legs, but once my help left, I needed my legs free so I buried his...

After a while I took Carter down to the water.  I'd gotten his feet in Craig's parents' pool with only a couple whimpers, so I thought I'd see how the lake was.  He didn't like it.  He started trembling and whining so I had to pick him up. 

I took a couple artsy shots of the rocks along the shore and took one last picture of Jacob before we tried to rinse and de-sand as much as we could.

We headed back up to snack a little more and pack up for the long ride home.  Both boys were out within a few minutes of starting the drive, but it was inevitable.  It made for some creative bedtime arrangements, but we managed and it was all worth it.  I loved being able to share that with them. 

It was definitely a tiring weekend, and another overnight thunderstorm and a very dark morning did not help any of us when it was time to get up this morning.  It was a rainy, dreary day in the low 60s (definitely not end of July weather), so I'm even more thankful we had two beautiful days to squeeze in a couple summer favorites over the weekend.  We'll pay for it a bit this week, but I'm so happy we got to do it.

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