This week has been crazy, and it's about to get crazier. Maybe the craziness hasn't been as much a physical thing as a mental thing. My brain has been a whirlwind of information all week. Work has been busy--lots of stuff that needs to be done in a short period of time, and both of my closest co-workers are on vacation--my boss all week and my data partner yesterday and today--so I've been focused on getting that work done and keeping my sanity amidst the very tedious process I have to go through. On the home front, much of my mental energy has been used to prepare for next week's conference trip. I'm so used to Craig being gone for a few days and life not being too disrupted, that the amount of prep I need to do for this trip to keep things running smoothly (or at least smoothly at a level I'd like them to maintain) is a challenge.
I don't want to sound like a crazy, obsessive mom. I know that Craig can take care of the kids just fine. He's a good, loving father and his biggest goal in life is to make them happy. While I certainly want them to be happy, too, I also strive to maintain a reasonably functional household. That's why, when we were outside the other night, Craig was playing with the kids and I was trying to clean up the yard so it wasn't a jungle by the time I get back. I know where my priorities should lie, but the reality is that stuff has to get done at some point. And it just so happens that a lot of the things I have to do are essential to making us look like functional, considerate human beings. Yard work, dishes, cooking, and house cleaning are all on that list, and if they don't get done, eventually we have a problem. My concern, I guess, is that Craig is used to being alone with the kids for an evening, or maybe a weekend. This is a full five days. While you can let the chores slide for a weekend, you really can't for a five-day span. If they forget their vitamins for one day, no biggie...but five becomes a concern. It's OK to bend the rules once in a while, and for a weekend it seems harmless, but if you make exceptions all week you end up with kids that think that's the norm, and that's where things get hairy. It's not that I think Craig will let them run amok, but I know as well as anyone that it's a challenge to corral two little boys alone, and I think his relative inexperience with being alone with them for this long could throw them a little off-kilter. In the end I know things will be fine, but I just don't want to have a lot of clean-up work to do when I get home (literally or figuratively).
I've been making lists all week--packing lists, to do lists, and an instruction list for Craig that covers topics like Carter's medicines, Jacob's lunches, and things to eat for dinner. I feel better with that stuff down on paper, but we're getting down to the end and I actually have to act upon a lot of it soon. I need to demonstrate a couple techniques for Craig and brown up some ground beef that they can reheat for tacos next week. I need to actually start making packing decisions, decide what laundry needs to be done, and put things into the suitcase that's been sitting in my room most of the week. I finally did some grocery shopping for snacks to take along, but I still need to gather everything out of my car (which is spending the week getting a body defect fixed) and prepare a bin of stuff that will be coming with me in the rental car. The car pick up-drop off on Saturday is going to be hectic because we have baseball in the morning and naptime after lunch. Part of me doesn't want to touch any of the packing until Saturday because it's easier by then for me to know what is OK to pack. But if I end up tired that day or all of the other stuff takes up more time than anticipated, I'm screwed. I need to be up and out at the crack of dawn Sunday, so that means I really shouldn't stay up late either! Yeah, so lots of stuff to think about.
Oh, and if that isn't enough, yesterday I started getting a cold. I thought my sniffles and sneezes were allergies from the previous night's yard work, but usually it would get better over the course of a day and it didn't. I was also extra tired. So, on my way to Jacob's baseball game I picked up some zinc tablets that shorten the duration of a cold. I also took some extra vitamin C last night and this morning. I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up because usually day two of a cold is awful and I felt decent. I had a bit of a headache that Tylenol took care of, I'm still a little sniffly but nothing like yesterday, and I'm still just tired with a bit of a fuzzy head. Functional, but definitely craving rest. I just want to make sure it doesn't get any worse than this because of my trip! Luckily, I finished the one urgent work thing I had before lunch and I'm going to finish up one more project after lunch and then leave. Since everyone else is off and I don't have anything else going on, there's no sense being here when I can go home, rest, and pack. I'll be "working" half the weekend anyway! And yes, my boss said it was fine.
In other news, we had a little bit of a scare this week. On Sunday on our way out of church, Craig noticed a rather large bump on Carter's head. It didn't really strike us as a goose egg, though we really didn't have any other possible explanations. It was pretty hard, and maybe a little smaller in circumference than the tip of my pinky. It didn't really seem to bother him, but it was concerning. It did not help my state of mind that earlier in the week I'd read a couple solicitation letters at work fundraising for a children's cancer center. They both detailed the moments the parents found their kids' tumors. Ugh. We monitored it closely all week, and it does appear to be considerably smaller now. Our guess is that it was a nasty mosquito bite. We'll keep an eye on it, though.
I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but Craig and Jacob were actually in Canada from Sunday night to Tuesday afternoon for a lacrosse camp. Jacob did a couple days of camp and Craig did some work for his upcoming stint as the social media guy for the Canadian national team at the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships. It's the same tournament he went to Prague for four years ago. Which, if you recall, left me at home alone with Jacob for 10 days. So, before you start feeling pity on him for next week's solo parenting, also keep in mind that he will be in Syracuse (woohoo) for 10 days in September. He clearly owes me this one, no? ;-) Jacob enjoyed camp because it was a box lacrosse camp (as opposed to the field ones down here), and I guess he held his own with the Canadian kids, some of whom have been playing organized lacrosse far longer than him. They even got to stay at a Knighthawk's house, so that was exciting, too. Carter and I kept ourselves busy while they were gone, but he asked about them all the time!
Jacob's last baseball game is Saturday, and his picnic is next Saturday. It's so hard to believe our third year of baseball is done. He's still undecided about next year. I'd love to see him continue to play, but it's clear that his passion is with lacrosse right now. He's still good at baseball and is making progress with fielding, but the fact that he's too busy playing lacrosse to ask Craig to take him to the diamond has slowed the rapid progress we're used to seeing. If nothing else, we might only have one summer off before Carter hits the first t-ball age group! Not sure I want him starting at four, but if he's decent at it it may not be a bad idea. He loves baseball best right now, though he's not nearly as obsessed as Jacob was at this age. And that is not a bad thing. Anyway, we had a pretty good team this year--some good kids and some solid improvement over the course of the year. If we don't play next year, the biggest bummer might be losing our coach for the last three years. He's been great, and his wife has become a good friend of mine, despite being quite a bit older than me.
But really, everything this week is really revolving around my trip. It's one of those situations where it breaks my heart to leave my family behind, but I know it's important--both for my career and for my own personal sanity. I can definitely use a break from the routine and the disciplining and the screaming, but when so much of your identity is rooted in your kids' existence, it's very strange to be apart from them for so long. I'm excited for the adventure and a little throwback to my college days, but it's still going to be a little surreal. Of course, if I can survive this, surely a three-day romantic getaway is doable, right? :)