Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Weekend #2!

Carter and I tend to spend a lot of time together.  I think that all started when Carter was a baby and I was on nursing duty, which meant that Craig often ended up with Jacob by default.  Prior to Carter being born, I think Jacob spent a good amount of time with both of us--I had him exclusively on weekends when Craig was working, and Craig would squeeze in whatever time he could with Jacob when he wasn't working.  But the tide shifted when Carter came around and I was the one who needed to attend to most of his needs...and honestly, we've never really recovered from that.  It seems a lot of Jacob's issues stem from that, and despite assuring him that I've always been available to him and explaining that he's pulled away from me more than anything, it's been a tough rift to heal.  So, our motto these days--for better or for worse--seems to be "divide and conquer".  It's often too hard to keep the kids together because they inevitably cause trouble, so much of the time it's one of us taking one kid to run an errand, or splitting up pick-up duties in the evening.  Not ideal, but it's how we survive right now. 

But much of the time now it's lacrosse that keeps Craig and Jacob busy together, between Jacob's playing schedule and his wanting to be around the team as much as possible.  This weekend was no exception, as Jacob had his first real travel tournament to attend.  Craig and Jacob made the long trip to Maryland for the weekend, once again leaving Carter and I together.  In theory, we could have gone--and probably will in the future--but given the difficulty of having them together, it probably wouldn't have been ideal right now.  On top of that, I already had plans for the weekend!  My college roommate Mary was coming into town because we had a concert to attend!  That's usually what gets us to settle on a date to get together, and sure enough, a great show was coming here that we couldn't pass up!  It had been a while since our last weekend together, so we were both really looking forward to it.

It turned out that Mary had a retirement party to attend on Friday night, and Carter's daycare was closed all day Friday, so I had an entire day with him.  The big boys left that morning, and I unfortunately spent much of the day cleaning the house--it desperately needed it.  Not just because someone was coming to visit, but because things go south quicker than I can keep up.  Anyway, I got things completed to my satisfaction, and then Carter and I had to go out and do some running around.  We stopped at the craft store (didn't get what I wanted but found a cool metal "R" (for our last name) in the perfect color for use in decorating around the house, for only $3) and Target (I got a bra for $5!), and then headed off to dinner.  Even though I knew we'd be eating out most of the weekend, I wanted to take Carter to Friendly's.  It's such a kid rite of passage and he's never been there because it is not gluten-free-friendly for our family.  He might have been there once before he was old enough to eat, but the only time I know he was there was in my belly the night before he was born.  We went there on the infamous worst Valentine's Day ever, when I felt horrible all day, and had to drag myself to Jacob's soccer session and the Friendly's dinner we promised.  I could barely eat and saw a little spot of blood when I visited the restroom, but I didn't go into labor until more than 12 hours later.  My uneaten sundae was still waiting for me in the freezer at home three days later! 

Anyway, I had coupons and I decided that it was time.  He seemed to enjoy his hot dog, although he almost fell asleep for about five minutes in the middle of dinner before he snapped out of it.  He chose a conehead sundae (my favorite!) for his dessert.  He made a mess of himself with the cone (see below), but ended up just letting the ice cream melt.  He took a couple sips of it with a straw after that, but that was it.  I had to rescue the Reese's Pieces in the bottom because I couldn't let those go to waste!   

After that I took a risk and we went to Kohl's.  I had a couple good coupons to stack (plus an awesome one I got at the register!), so it was worth looking.  I figured I could keep him occupied with my phone if I needed to.  And aside from one moment when he threw his toys in the cart basket repeatedly, and then accidentally head-butted me in the mouth to the point that it still hurts now and felt vaguely numb at moments on Saturday, he did really well.  And so did I!  I got three shirts, a skirt, a necklace with four pendants, and a pair of Adidas shorts for Jacob, all for about $35.

Mary arrived late Saturday morning, and after Carter showed her all of his toys, we headed out for lunch and a trip to the zoo.  I figured we needed something to do that would keep Carter occupied, and since we hadn't been there in a while, I thought it might be fun.  It turned out to be a pleasant day despite being cool and breezy, but unfortunately the animals weren't the most visible or active this time around.  No polar bears, otters, or penguins, only one sea lion, and only a few baboons.  And even animals that were out and about weren't doing much.  But it was a nice excuse for a walk, I suppose!

We saw some birds...

...and some baby lemurs...

...and caught a glimpse of the elusive Canada lynx.

Carter loves these photo op boards wherever we go, but usually he's not quite tall enough for them!  Maybe next year...

The lions were sleepy...

...and by this point a squirrel on a bench almost counted as part of the show.

The elephants were inside, which didn't afford us the best entertainment, but we could get some pretty good up-close views of their amazing bodies, from their trunks to their ears to their giant feet and wrinkly skin.  The highlight, though, may have been when the little girl in the family next to us dropped her mom's cell phone through the bars and just inside the enclosure.  It wasn't near the elephants, but rather in the walkway between our viewing area and the cages themselves.  A zookeeper had to come get it, though!

The baboon enclosure was a lot quieter than usual, with only three of them hanging out in the visible area.  And those weren't very active, mostly just digging in the dirt for something to eat.  They are stern looking creatures, aren't they?

On the way back through, I peeked back into the bus that serves as a viewing area for the lions, and this pretty girl who was sleeping on the hood had woken up.

When we passed by the goats on the way into the Africa exhibit, the enclosure was empty.  When we came back through, we heard them before we even saw them.  It turns out they sometimes spend time elsewhere on the property (grazing, maybe?) and the little poops we saw on the walkway on our way back (almost thought someone dropped their milk duds!) came from one of them as they were being walked back.  As we walked up, the keepers were bringing them fresh hay, and they were mercilessly vocalizing to get their mouths on it!  As you can see, they were eager.

But look at that silly face!

The penguins were all in for the night, but Carter couldn't resist sticking his face through one more hole to be a penguin!

I caught a shot of this vibrant little guy in the otter building...

...and tried (and failed) to capture the beauty of the snow leopard.  Darn fence.

We left the zoo right around closing time and of course Carter fell asleep on the way home.  I let him rest a bit, but soon we had to go grab dinner.  We opted for Outback, and while it was a bit harrowing at times (Carter discovered at Friendly's that he can crawl under the table to the other side of the booth), Mary did an amazing job of tricking him into eating his dinner.  After 15+ years of preschool speech pathology work, she is the master.  You can tell she's spent a lot of time with kids that age, trying to get them to do things they don't want to do!

Sunday morning we were up bright and early to drive down to Geneseo for church.  Even though we figured we wouldn't see our old pastor, since he's retired and has grandkids to visit, we still like popping in there from time to time to get a little taste of "home". 

Carter got a little antsy near the end, and it was nearly impossible to get him to stop making a nuisance of himself.  I don't know what got into him, but whatever it was only got worse at lunch.  We went to our favorite pizza place, Mama Mia's, and when I tried to give Carter his pizza, he tried to throw it on the floor.  He was mad that I was trying to get him to sit still and eat, because he wanted to climb under the booth again, and even though I tried to compromise with him, he got pretty nasty and screamed quite a bit.  It was pretty miserable.  And then...it was over.  I asked him for the umpteenth time to eat a few pieces of pizza and show me he could be a good boy so he could go sit with Mary, and after refusing before, suddenly he was like, "Okay," and he ate.  Seriously?  Ugh.  And yes, he was really into Mary.  She let him have her zoo map, and he carried it around for a couple days, even taking it to daycare yesterday.  Silly boy.

After lunch we wandered down to the campus and checked out the sights.  Some of the campus is nearly the same, some is completely different.  The upper quad has a new science building and a completely renovated one.  One side of the campus has two new dorms and a renovated dining hall, and the side we lived on has an entire block of townhouses that took over the torturous walkway we used to walk in horizontal rain and snow.  Our old dining hall is closed for renovations, no doubt to become one of those fancy multi-station dining facilities that I'm convinced would have made me gain 50 pounds if I'd had one in college.  But there's no doubt it's still a pretty campus and will always be another home to us.
Sturges Hall, one of the iconic spots on campus, along with the "Seuss Spruce"

Gorgeous ivy on Sturges

Looking up at the tower

Looking out over the Genesee Valley...the leaves were past peak, but this is the preferred sunset viewing spot on campus.  That's the same valley that played host to that amazing sunset I caught a few weeks ago.

Another new piece--a  stadium.  I would have had a view of it from one or two of my dorms.  I would have loved that!

Where it all began...our freshman dorm.

This was the newest building when we were on campus.  It's now over 20 years old...but still pretty.
As we walked back toward the car, we stopped in this new little spot that honors some major donors.  Carter took a liking to the bench.

He insisted I take his picture. 
During most visits, the Geneseo leg would mark the end and Mary would be heading back home.  This time, Sunday night held another round of fun--a concert!  We grabbed subs from Aunt Cookie's to eat for dinner and headed home to get ready for the evening.  Carter went to stay with my cousin Lori for the evening, and we went off to the concert.

One of the acts was called We Are Messengers, which is basically just an Irish guy.  He had some very interesting words to share in light of last week's election, from the perspective of an outsider. 

Next up was the entire reason I was there.  She may not have been the biggest name, but she was what made me want to go--Plumb.  I've been listening to her for about 19 years, and I saw her live once in 1998 and have been officially hooked ever since.  She is amazing.

I felt very emotional about seeing her, and it took me a bit to realize why.  Because I've been listening to her for 19 years, she has sung me through so many stages of my life.  From the early stages of my renewed faith, through college crushes and ill-advised relationships, on to marriage, motherhood, and all of the challenges that have come with it.  When she started playing the song "Need You Now", I was overcome by emotion.  That song was with me on the way to my dad's heart surgery, and for many commutes where I was overwhelmed by all we've gone through with Jacob.  Hearing it live was intense but wonderful.

The main act was Big Daddy Weave, who I've always enjoyed hearing in passing but never bought any of their stuff.  However, I was interested in hearing them live.  One interesting point of the show is when the lead singer's brother, who is also a member of the band, came out to play.  He had both of his feet amputated due to an infection a few months back and is lucky to be alive.  It was inspiring seeing him out there, wheelchair and all.

The show was different that any I've ever seen.  Each artist played a short set of a handful of songs, and then they all came out together to play an entire set of worship songs as a group.  It was pretty cool and we really enjoyed it.  And the best news of the night?  One concert we'd been disappointed bypassed our areas added a Rochester date!  So, with any luck, we'll get to do this all over again in three months!

It ended up being a late night all around--Carter was still awake when we picked him up, and Craig and Jacob didn't get home until after midnight.  Mary left first thing in the morning.  That evening we got to regroup as a family and the boys all showed off some souvenirs from their detour to Gettysburg...
Some of the props we already had...but Jacob insisted they all pose for a picture!
At least we only have to get through one full week before Thanksgiving week!  But these two weekends will be tough to beat!

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