Friday, September 30, 2016

Forced Fun

I guess it's been one of those weeks where I haven't taken the time to blog.  I almost always have the urge to write and be creative, but sometimes busyness and exhaustion take over.  I couldn't even get through a Google search before nodding off the other night, let alone a blog post!  On top of that, my lunch hours have been a little crazy this week.  Shopping on one day, a birthday lunch for a co-worker on another, and a lunch-and-learn on another, so blogging has taken a back seat.  Oh, and I've also been doing a lot of Googling and webcam searching to follow my parents on their European vacation.  It's also Oktoberfest (which my parents got to stop in at!) so I always try to check in there during my lunch, too.  But otherwise it's been a pretty quiet week overall, I guess.  I had the boys solo on Monday night and part of Tuesday night, and while it's never uneventful, it all went pretty smoothly.  Carter has been doing much better behavior-wise at daycare (ahhh, just jinxed it) and while Jacob has had a fairly steady stream of minor issues with school (what else is new?), nothing has been major.  I think he's still adjusting to the volume of homework and his teacher's expectations, but nothing to panic about yet.  Craig had his endoscopy today, to get at the root of his stomach issues.  I was more excited about that until I got the bill for mine.  Ugh.  But it was important that he got it done, and it turns out that he's got a bit of an ulcer issue going on, which is actually what we expected it might be.  I'm still waiting for my follow-up testing but I'm convinced gluten isn't my problem because I have eaten plenty of it without any clear issues.  Fatty stuff, however, seems to cause me a little more discomfort so who knows what's ultimately causing the inflammation.  The reflux is on and off.  Some days it's worse, some days it doesn't bother me at all.  I'm nearly convinced it's stress.

On the bright side, fall is getting further into full swing.  The weather has been on board for a couple days with sudden coolness, but I suppose it could be worse.  We'll be getting into pumpkin patches and leaf peeping soon, which is always fun.  And the Halloween decor should come out this weekend, which always makes me happy.

When I left off last weekend after my whirlwind Saturday of reorganization, we had some plans for Sunday.  We went to church as usual, then we headed to Chipotle for their special kids-eat-free Sunday.  It was something they were doing for September and I really hope they bring it back.  It was a great opportunity to take Jacob there and see if he liked it, without risking $5 on his meal.  Carter can be pretty picky in his own right, so it was nice to not worry about him not eating either.  It took a little finagling when we got there to find something they'd both like, as the chicken and steak are spicy, but Jacob settled on the carnitas (pork) and Carter ended up with the cheese quesadilla.  When I said Jacob was gluten-free, they launched right into his corn tortillas and they seemed ready for that request.  I opted for a salad this time, which I never do, only because I'd had a Qdoba burrito a few days earlier and because I wanted to see if I missed the tortilla in case I have to go gluten-free.  I missed it a little, but not as much as I thought!  And as for Jacob, he loved it!  The pork by itself didn't delight him, but all together with cheese and a little lettuce, he was on board!  Carter seemed to like his quesadilla, too, so overall it was a great success!  So awesome to have another popular chain to add to our list--for traveling purposes, especially!

After that we headed to my random mission for the day--the Helmer Nature Center.  It's basically a nature preserve.  I believe there are usually guides and things like that, but it was pretty quiet when we got there. Carter fell asleep on the way there (ugh) and Jacob complained and insisted he wasn't getting out of the car.  Even Craig was a little iffy about it because he wanted to be watching the Bills' game--which, it turned out, wouldn't have been a waste of time like it usually is!  But I insisted we do something after multiple weekends of nothingness.  I wanted to see and do something different.  So we did.  At least it was a gorgeous day for a walk in the woods.

I took this picture across a chasm, but I was so struck by how that tree looked almost fake.  The grooves were so clear from so far away, and it really stood out among other trees.
We wound around the trails, honestly not seeing much of note.  We saw some squirrels and a couple birds, but that was it.  We did see some beetles swarmed on the pods of a plant (ewww) and I did see some rather impressive shelf fungi, but any wildflowers were gone and leaves haven't really changed yet, so there wasn't much to see.  The kids weren't impressed, so we just tried to finish off the trail and get back out to the sports fields nearby, since that's where the kids really wanted to go.

We did come to this bridge and Jacob wanted to jump on it to test it out Indiana Jones-style...and I think he's sort of airborne in this picture...

I also tried to get a good picture of both kids, but this was about as good as it gets since they move around so much...

Strong guys!  The thing in Carter's hand is a plastic "clapper" toy that he got at church that morning at the kid version of the church's campaign kickoff celebration.  It was his constant companion until he took it into daycare and it fell apart and somehow disappeared.  At least he hasn't been asking for it.
We finally came up to this section near the end of the trail that had a swampy area with a little deck.  It looked pretty mysterious and majestic.

This picture has been adjusted a little bit via Instagram, but I liked how it highlighted the green plants in the water.

The water was a bit murky, but we did get to see a giant tadpole!  The head had to be at least the size of a penny or dime.  I guess I forgot they might be that big at some point before they get their arms and legs and lose their tail!

The boys were happy to get back out of the woods and run around a nearby baseball diamond.  Craig found a couple lost balls in the weeds nearby, but after a little while it was time to go home.  It wasn't exactly our most successful outing, but I felt better that at least we tried.  We did something...even if it wasn't the best thing.

Another weekend is ahead of us and we have some ideas again, so we'll see how they go!

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