Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

This weekend was a bit of a mixed bag.  With it being an activity-filled 3-1/2 day weekend, my hopes were high for a lot of fun and some good photo ops.  In the end it had some highs and some lows and a lot of in-between, too.  Suffice it to say that I came out of it tired, and as usual, I find myself longing for more time, more energy, and a shorter to-do list.

Friday I took a half day from work so I could get a couple things done and we could get on the road to Toronto at a reasonable time.  Craig and I ended up having a last-minute lunch date before I ran off to BJ's to renew my membership and pick up some much-needed diapers.  I came home and did a 3.5 mile run in preparation for today's Corporate Challenge.  The weather was cool and pretty perfect, but I was a lot slower than I'd hoped.  I don't know if it was my less-than-ideal pre-run lunch or what, but I was hoping for a better result tonight.

Anyway, I came home and finished packing, Craig got the kids, and we headed out a bit later than we'd hoped, but within an acceptable timeframe for getting into town outside of rush hour and before it got too late.  Of course, at one point Jacob said he wasn't feeling well, then he had a fit about dinner, and after three hours in the car with two crazy kids, things had been eventful enough! 

That first night was a little strange, as we were going to be staying in separate places.  Craig and Jacob were staying at the team hotel downtown, and Carter and I were staying 20 minutes outside of downtown in a hotel room I booked.  We stopped there first to drop off our stuff (as doing that alone with a two-year-old seemed unadvisable), then continued on to drop off Craig and Jacob.  It was a lot of driving, but luckily the traffic was fine and Carter fell asleep on the way back, meaning that bedtime was easy and I had blissful hour or so to unwind after we got back.

Life with one kid (and particularly the one without dietary restrictions) seems so easy now.  Carter woke up on his own, we got ready, and we headed to the free hotel breakfast.  He happily ate his waffle and sausages, and we headed out for our morning activity, a trip to IKEA!  It was only about 10 minutes away from the hotel.  I hadn't been there in far too long and had a handful of items on my list, including a new reading lamp to go in our living room in a dark corner next to our La-Z-Boy.

We had a nice time wandering through the store, and I let Carter down from the cart when we hit the kids' area so he could play with a couple of the toys they had out.  Even though there were fun tents and tunnels and chairs to play with, he only wanted to play with the one thing we have at home--the rocking moose. 

And he did NOT want to get up when another little girl wanted a turn.  Sigh.  Once we got back to shopping, we wandered through the store trying to finish off my list.  And eventually we did, lamp included.  We paid and put away our purchases, then came back into the restaurant for lunch, so Carter could enjoy his first meal of Swedish meatballs!  Also notable about the lunch is that I couldn't find a high chair so he had to sit in a booster seat for the first time.  He did great! 

He enjoyed the meatballs but actually didn't eat a whole lot.  Eventually I just gave up waiting so we could get back to the hotel and he could sneak in a nap before we had to get ready to go to the game. 

Of course, before we left Carter decided to run a lap around the dining room, with absolutely zero concern for where I might be.  He did get himself a little confused and went looking for me, at which point I had to go track him down.  The problem is that I give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll only go as far as he's comfortable, but no...he just keeps going regardless of whether I can see him or he can see me.  I don't want to chase after him like a crazy woman immediately, because then it's a game, but then he goes farther than I'm comfortable and I look like a crappy mom because I'm having to chase him down from so far away.  The running and chasing was an unfortunate theme of the weekend, despite my appeals to him to stay with me and hold my hand.  Ugh.

He fell asleep on the way back to the hotel, so luckily I had another easy transition into the hotel room and a little more down time before we had to leave.  In the end he only got about an hour and a half nap, because we had to leave extra early to pick up a gluten-free pizza for Jacob's dinner and then battle traffic to get downtown.  Of course, traffic was even worse than I had imagined, bad enough that the GPS tried to take me around it.  We only ended up getting downtown 20 minutes later than originally planned, but the bigger problem was that the street to the lot where we were supposed to meet the boys was blocked off when we got there (a movie shoot, apparently, if you can believe that), and without cell service in Canada or any available WiFi, I wasn't sure how I was going to get in touch with Craig.  I was stuck in nasty traffic again at that point, and parked the only place I could really get to quickly--an underground ramp on the other side of the arena.  We walked back over to where we were supposed to meet them, and I couldn't find them.  I ended up telling my sob story to the security guy working at the media gate, and he managed to track down the long-distance calling code for the phone so I could call Craig and tell him where I was.  Fortunately, that worked and we were back in business. 

After all that we still had to wait for gates to open so Carter and I could grab some dinner, so we killed time in the concourse between the arena and the train station.  I tried to take his picture with the arena entrance in the background, and this is what you see:


...and this is what was going on beyond the frame....

Ever since I stopped putting Carter in onesies (once the weather got nicer and he outgrew the last of them), he has been obsessed with his belly.  He lifts up his shirt all the time, often mindlessly, and it cracks me up.  It's like, "Hey, look at this cool thing I have!"

Oh, and in case you were wondering, all this time Jacob was doing his ball boy duties again.  When we finally got into the arena, we got to see him in action...

Yeah, the other ball boys are bigger, but he holds his own out there!


 
And here's our view from our seats.  Jacob is around that blue circle at mid-field.
 
After Jacob was done being a ball boy, we headed up to the press box to get him to come down and sit with us.   However, he ended up staying with Craig, for a few reasons, and we now have proof he CAN be quiet for extended periods of time!

The game ended up being a pretty unfortunate affair.  The Knighthawks just had to win to advance to the finals, but if they lost, then they just had to win a 10-minute mini-game to advance.  Well, they lost their best offensive player to an injury during their last game, and it seemed like they just couldn't get past that this week.  They were barely competitive in the first half, made a game of it in the second half, but just couldn't complete the comeback.  The mini-game was a debacle, with Toronto ending up with more goals than we had shots.  It was a pretty sad way to end a three-year championship run, but the good news is that we probably wouldn't have beat the team we'd have ended up playing, and we get a bonus extra few weeks with Craig that we wouldn't have had otherwise.  Still, it was a bummer.  And it didn't help that Carter was an absolute handful for most of the game.  He didn't want to sit and he did his runaway act in the concourse whenever he could.  It was exhausting.

We all headed back to the hotel after a long night, and the kids were in rare, overtired form.  They were crazy in the car, crazy in the hotel room, and crazy once they were in bed.  In fact, I strongly suggested to Craig that he leave the room to finish his work for the night so we could turn off the lights and get the kids to finally settle.  It took a while, but they did.  Still, I was discouraged by the craziness and the morning wasn't much better.  So, despite my best intentions to make the most of the trip and do something fun up there, we ended up just heading home after breakfast. 

We stopped for lunch in Buffalo and got home in the early afternoon.  We unpacked, Carter napped, and I made a quick pudding pie to take to my aunt's house for a Memorial Day picnic.  We had a nice time with my family, enjoying the pleasant weather and eating a tasty dinner.  I snapped a couple pics of her pretty flowers...


...and Carter was fascinated by the wildlife.  They had newborn baby bunnies in their garden (so tiny, hardly any fur, little ears!) and there was a pair of ducks that were having issues.  The female kept getting chased by the male, all over their yard and the swamp behind the house.  It was actually pretty funny to watch, and Carter got some good up-close views of the female!

The boys played a lot of lacrosse while we were there.  Carter is definitely still honing his skills, but he's getting there...

Jacob can actually have supportive big brother moments when it has to do with sports.  Look at him here playing goalie!  Just check out that smile!

And here is what happened when Carter scored "a goal"...notice the raised stick in celebration!

I knew I wanted to be productive on Monday.  I feel like in the past when I didn't get things done on Memorial Day, it set me back for the rest of the summer.  I suppose that mostly pertains to outside stuff, since that's the hardest to do with kids around.  I'm sure last year wasn't helped by Craig's extended season, either.  But I was determined to get some things done.  So, I took Carter out with me in the morning to go to Lowe's.  I wanted to get more mulch for our front flower bed and get everything I needed to plant our garden, but in the end we struck out there.  They didn't have any of the plants I wanted, and none of the mulch in the color I needed.  We headed off to Walmart and managed to get the garden stuff, at least.

By the time we got back it was lunch time and naptime.  I ran out to Kohl's to take advantage of a couple deals (I finally found a sweater for work and I got Jacob a shirt for his birthday), and then stopped at Wegmans before heading home and getting a head start on the gardening.  I went back out after dinner to actually plant the garden, and took Carter out with me since he had a bean plant from daycare that he was excited to plant.  Well, once we were out there he only wanted to run around, and of course he wanted to run around the spot where our hose has a leak.  So, not only were his feet wet, but he was stirring up the mosquitos.  Amazingly, I only saw two bites on him.  Me, on the other hand....well, I think between Sunday's picnic and last night, I have somewhere around 40, and 20 of those are on my feet alone.  Still, I got the garden planted and hopefully we'll have beans, pumpkins (from our own seeds!), zucchini, cucumbers, red peppers, and grape tomatoes at some point this summer.  I have about five more major projects to do around our yard in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for those tales.

Anyway, the weekend had some good moments and some not-great moments, but we had a little adventure and a little productivity, so I can't complain too much.  Tonight extended our busyness, with the boys heading off to a lacrosse game and me to the Corporate Challenge.  I finished the 3.5 miles in 34:04, which was actually one of my slowest times (only seven seconds more than last year), but a victory nonetheless because of my crap run last Friday and because it was really hot tonight.  I was afraid I wouldn't break 35 minutes, so being that close to 34 was great.  It's still a bit of a bummer considering all of the training time I had this winter, but it's been a busy couple months since I went back to work, so it is what it is.  Despite the heat I felt pretty good afterward, so maybe that's my progress!  It felt good to take on the challenge again, though, and I even got to say hi to some of my former co-workers afterward.  It felt good to be so happy with where I am now, even though I miss some of them and don't like that their lives are harder in my absence.  But all in all, it was a good night. 

Whew.  What a crazy few days it has been!

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