Monday, June 15, 2015

One of Those Days (The Good Kind)

This weekend was one of our few weekends in the midst of a lot of busy ones.  Between family birthdays, Father's Day, and other events, I was determined to make the most of the weekend.  And we did, I think.

Oh, but first...last Tuesday Jacob finished off his outdoor lacrosse season.  This is the one that started pretty badly, where Jacob didn't want to go to practice and came home from countless practices early for various reasons.  Because we couldn't get our money back, we soldiered on.  It wasn't that many games anyway, and as the season went on, it was clear that Jacob was enjoying it more.  He still wasn't getting passed to very much and still didn't seem to really bond with his teammates, but everything still felt better.  Tuesday was the last game, and despite the fact that it poured for a good chunk of the day, the clouds parted and the sun came out before the game.  The field wasn't too wet, so they played.  And near the end of the game, Jacob scored his second goal of the season (third ever)!  Next year will be interesting, since very few of his teammates will be back.  The team has dominated for the two years we've been involved, and theexperienced kids are all moving up next year.  So Jacob will then be one of the experienced kids and it will be interesting to see how that goes.  Will he step up and become one of the new good players?  We shall see come November...

Anyway...we had baseball Thursday night and Saturday morning.  He's been doing well there, too.  His hitting is still good and his fielding is getting better.  Sometimes he tries to run the ball to a base because he doesn't trust his teammates to catch it (sometimes with good reason), but it's always fun to watch everyone improve.  He's been insisting that he doesn't want to play next year, but we'll see how that goes.  Now that baseball is his only sport he may rediscover his love for it.  And if not, we can always look into a season that doesn't conflict with lacrosse and see if he might be okay with that.

After baseball and lunch on Saturday, Carter went down for his nap and I ventured outside to do some work in the yard.  Our yard looks like crap right now anyway from all of the sidewalk/road work that's been in progress for the last couple weeks, but I had some trimming and weed killing to do before getting to my main project--ripping out four bushes.  Of course, they're not even the bushes I hate trimming--those will probably be a pro job because they're huge and there are so many of them--but these just got added to the list a couple weeks ago when Craig mentioned them.  And for the first time it dawned on me that we could just rip them out.  The four euonymous bushes, those yellow-green leaved shrubs, lined the back of our patio up against the house.  They grow all crazy if you let them, with wacky shoots and whatever, and a couple years ago we discovered that shoots were growing up behind our siding...and one actually made it all the way up and out under the eaves.  UGH.  That one got trimmed at the bottom and is still hanging there dead (both because we don't have a ladder tall enough and because it was a good reminder to keep checking!).  They were so crazy looking that it was hard to tell how many were even in there, and they were crawling out onto the patio and looking all sorts of uneven and awkward.  No matter how I tried to trim them, they never looked good and grew back too fast to keep up with.  So, it was time for them to go.  I hacked away at them for a couple hours and got all four down to stumps.  Craig came out and started hacking away at the stumps with the shovel and I strategically snipped stubborn roots until everything was out.  The pile was quite large--five large bags full.  We'll still probably have shoots, but they'll be easier to manage and the remaining bed of lush soil is just waiting for new inhabitants...probably something simple like boxwoods that grow neatly, or something that will do well in the damp shade.  It was exhausting but awesome.

Once Carter woke up from his nap, we headed out to do a real activity.  I feel like we don't do enough of those.  Between our travels and sports and just catching up from the exhaustion of the week, weekends tend to be pretty utilitarian.  And while it's often necessary, I hate it.  I want weekends to be fun and interesting and memorable.  And it's summer, so we need to do this stuff while we can.  We almost didn't go on this adventure because the kids were a little cranky and we were running short on time, but the weather forecast for Sunday was crappy so this was our only shot to head up to the lake to see replicas of the Nina and the Pinta from Christopher Columbus' fleet!

They were docked up at the port in Charlotte (shar-LOT, for those of you not from around here), and while I wasn't thrilled about the admission fee, we only had to pay for three of us and we don't do stuff like this often.  And, it was actually pretty cool.
The Nina was first (on the left), the Pinta was second (in the back).  The Santa Maria doesn't exist, as a replica would apparently be too big to travel the waterways these boats tour.

The boys trying to open a "treasure chest" on the Nina.  The boats had lots of history and examples of the gear they used.

This was supposed to be both boys near a small cannon, but this is what we ended up with instead.  No surprise - Jacob doesn't want to be cooperative and Carter is always on the move...

Jacob and Craig checking out the rudder--no captain's wheel on these boats!

Looking toward the front of the Nina

Off the side of the Nina, looking across the Genesee River

Closer shot of the Pinta, with a tugboat in the background

The boys at the front of the Pinta

Attempted selfie with Carter...always a challenge!

We could go up on a second level on the Pinta!

I caught this shot from up top, with one sailboat in the river and another in the lake!

Back on the Nina, Carter loved the hole where the rudder lever came on the ship!

Both boys were pulling at the ropes, but of course I only got Carter by the time my camera came out!
After checking out the ships, we wandered down closer to the lake for Carter's first visit to the carousel!  We took Jacob a little before his second birthday, and that trip wasn't particularly successful.  I had higher hopes for Carter since he was older, but with half of his genes belonging to Craig, I always know that spinning may not be the best activity!  He seemed to like the look of it and was a bit reserved when we got on...
 
 
...but he loved it!  In fact, he wouldn't stop talking about it afterward, and kept wanting to go back!  And after a brief period where Jacob wasn't a fan of merry-go-rounds, he seems to be past that...
 

And here's Craig on his ostrich :)

We took a few extra minutes to wander down to the beach.  The boys wasted no time digging right in...
Carter was throwing sand, Jacob was doing sand angels, and we had a heck of a time getting them out of there!  I promised that we could come back another time, so I guess we have to add that to the list!

By this point we were still debating dinner plans, because we wanted to go out but are always challenged to find places Jacob can eat, and in the meantime opted for one more detour.  Craig had discovered a little spot adjacent to a church that housed a Peace Garden commemmorating the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. 

Some flags, some historical plaques, and some pretty flowers...

The garden was adjacent to a historic lighthouse along the Genesee River.  The lighthouse dates back to the 1820s, I think, and the keeper's house is from the 1860s.  It's open for tours, so we may be going back one of these days!

While the boys were reading the plaques and Carter was running around, I noticed this (very) little guy hanging out on a plant...
The picture was actually taken sideways, but it keeps rotating to vertical here.  Still pretty cool.  He was maybe as big as my pinky nail!
We finished off our night with our first family trip to Five Guys Burgers & Fries.  We'd been there was Jacob was a baby, but we hadn't been there since Jacob's Celiac diagnosis.  I'd heard they were good for Celiacs, since their fries are done in a dedicated fryer and they're good about changing gloves and all that.  But we hadn't gone because peanuts are a central component of their offerings (peanuts as an appetizer and peanut oil fries) and we had been holding off on giving Carter peanuts.  Turns out he's fine with them (slight daycare misunderstanding--yikes), so we decided to give it a shot.  And honestly, it was great.  Carter and Jacob both loved their hot dogs (Jacob's was bun-free, of course), and Craig and I loved our burgers.  Everyone enjoyed the peanuts, and overall it was just a really pleasant trip.  It was a great end to a fun evening. 

Yesterday was pretty low key since it rained all afternoon.  I bought a pair of pants for a little over $1 (thank you JCPenney $10 coupons!) and Jacob created his own lacrosse field in the garage with chalk and his nets, since our cars were still parked on the street due to construction.  But it was a pretty quiet day, which was probably needed.  Another week has started and the countdown to Jacob's birthday is on!  So much to do! 

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