Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Oh, crap.

So, it appears I'm going to be a little shorthanded for a while. Craig came home from softball last night (yes, he plays two nights in a row...or should I say, played) with a pretty severe injury to his calf. It could be a torn muscle, it could be a ruptured Achilles. We won't know until tomorrow when he gets the results of the MRI he's getting tonight. Needless to say, I am not a happy camper. And of course, neither is Craig. He can't walk. He literally crawled up the stairs last night and took forever to figure out how to hop into the bathroom without injuring himself further. He's been spending part of the day today figuring out how to get around the house more easily, until the crutches fairy arrives at the house. He's considered the computer chair and the scooter in our crawl space so far. Eventually his crutches will arrive (via someone in the Amerks office) and he'll at least be a little more mobile. But unfortunately, if his hands are on a set of crutches, Craig is not equipped to leave the house with Jacob. Jacob needs good handholding (and if that fails, a good set of legs) anytime we're out and about. So, that means I'm pretty much on the hook for daycare fulltime until further notice, which puts the status of my measly once-a-week workouts up in the air. Craig can't play with Jacob, since playing with Jacob generally involves lots of ball chasing. Tending to the pool and yard could get interesting, and in general the timing of this is terrible since there's a lot to get done in the next few days leading up to Jacob's party.

I said in my Facebook status this morning that I know I should be feeling more pity for Craig, but that it's hard for me to get past the fact that this injury puts a heck of a lot on my shoulders. Not only am I the only able-bodied adult in the house in the midst of party planning AND the usual day-to-day stuff, but now I need to take care of Craig on top of Jacob. Last night when he was requesting ice and ice cream, among other things, while I was in the middle of doing a bunch of stuff myself, I got really frustrated. And I get it, this is all very selfish. Craig is the one who can't walk and may be facing surgery and the inevitable end of his softball career. But this injury could truly mess up our whole summer, which impacts us all in so many ways. And selfish though it may be, it does put a lot of weight on my shoulders...shoulders that already had enough on them. Not only do I have to do my usual cooking and cleaning (which I already skimp on due to time constraints), but I'll probably have to pick up some extra laundry duties. I'll be the go-to-girl for Jacob's playtime (which, unfortunately, includes the time when I'm cooking dinner) and will probably have to resume some of the morning Jacob duties that I passed off to Craig a long time ago. My work schedule will be limited since I'll be on the hook for daycare drop-offs and pick-ups for at least as long as it takes for us to figure out if it's possible to keep Jacob in check without holding him or his hand. And I am swamped at work right now, so much so that I'm worried about even taking off on Friday to get party stuff done. It's just a lot to think about...and that's not even getting into how this injury or any potential surgeries could impact the rest of our summer plans or our bank account. Even beyond any mini-vacations that we'd take, are we going to be less likely to do a lot of the things that make summer fun, like walks by the lake, visits to festivals, or random baseball games because Craig isn't really that mobile?

The ironic thing about all of this is that I've obviously done things alone before, when Craig's been on road trips. I don't know what it is, but this is just different. Maybe it's because road trips are short term and I'm not worried that a couple days of a distracted mommy will stick with Jacob for too long. Maybe it's because having Craig in plain sight provides a false sense of security--that it might seem like I've got able bodied backup, but I don't. Sure, Craig can still talk to Jacob and distract him and play with him as much as he can from the couch, but when you have a toddler that doesn't sit still, it only goes so far. And I do wonder how Jacob will deal with all of this. Even though we can tell him daddy has a boo-boo and can't play baseball, I'm just not sure it will sink in enough for him to truly get that daddy isn't ignoring his pleas. Maybe this is more frustrating because summer is the one time of year where we can control our weekends and enjoy the evenings a bit...and this puts a big cramp in that. It's just disappointing. But regardless, for some reason this just seems harder than all those weekends alone in the middle of winter.

I guess we don't have much of a choice but to see how it goes. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Anniversary...

I forgot to mention in my post yesterday that it was Craig's and my 7th anniversary. How time has flown...particularly these past couple years. I looked back at anniversary blog posts from the last couple years, and it appears that the celebrating has definitely been kept to a minimum since Jacob was born. Not that we ever did anything particularly fancy, but neither post says anything about going out to dinner or anything like that. Considering anniversary #5 was the day after Jacob came home, I can't say I was surprised about that one. Last year I'm not sure if we ended up doing anything, but I have a feeling that last year fell victim to the same thing as this year--that we're generally so busy these days that making arrangements for a babysitter and dinner out seems like more work than it's worth. We had a night out last Monday anyway, so even though it wasn't particularly romantic, it was still a night out. Last night Craig had a late softball game and I figured I'd at least give myself an easier evening by getting one of those yummy rotisserie chickens from the grocery store for dinner. I did a couple easy side dishes and that was that. Once Craig left I had a little time with Jacob before bed and spent the rest of the evening dusting the house and trying to organize a bit in preparation for having people over to the house on Saturday for Jacob's party. I'm not making myself nuts since the house will just get dirty again, but I think giving it a good dusting and general cleaning would be a good idea. No one needs visual proof that we sometimes live among a layer of filth.

That may seem like a sad way to spend my anniversary, but really, the amount of satisfaction I get from being productive (which, let's be honest, only happens when I'm home alone or when Craig is doing much the same--like Sunday morning) is probably just as enjoyable as a nice dinner out minus Jacob. And, sadly, it probably does a similar amount of good for the state of our marriage. Isn't there some saying about a clean home being a happy home? Or is it just "If Mama ain't happy ain't nobody happy?" ;-)

I'll admit it's a little sad how much of a non-event our anniversary seems these days. You know how around Jacob's birthday I was doing a series of "at this moment" things thinking back to the events surrounding Jacob's birth? I think I did much the same with our anniversary in the years before Jacob. "Right now I was getting my hair done," or "Right now we had gotten through the ceremony and were getting pictures done," etc. I think I thought about that stuff once or twice this year, but not with nearly the same passion that I did when thinking about Jacob. And I suppose that's just part of the progression of our lives, rather than a reflection on our marriage itself. For the first five years we were married, it was all about us. I had the time to indulge in lovely memories of our wedding day. After all, it was the best day of our lives! But once Jacob came along, for better or worse, it really became all about him. The girl that got married seven years ago yesterday seems miles away from who I am today. My priorities are vastly different and my world revolves around a two-year-old little boy. It's just a different life, and I think it's easier to relate to the day I had Jacob than it is to the relatively carefree time when we got married. Sad but true, I guess. It doesn't make it any less important; just evidence of a lot of steps down a very long road. Getting farther away from where you started doesn't make that starting point any less a part of the journey...but the scenery you're looking at at this point in time is definitely more pertinent to your daily life.

Admittedly, it would have been nice to go out for a lovely dinner, just the two of us...or even better, all three of us if there was a 100% guarantee that Jacob would actually sit and eat and behave like a sweet, perfect child. And although it wasn't in the cards for our actual anniversary this year, there's nothing stopping us from picking another day somewhere down the road when things are far more convenient, where we can reminisce and enjoy each other's company just as we would have on our actual anniversary. It's just another day in the grand scheme of things. Whether or not it's significant on the calendar, it's still just a day--a mere moment in long marriage. And as long as we do find the time to appreciate each other and think back, which, admittedly, we should do more, that one day isn't going to make or break things. They say that it's less about the wedding day and more about the marriage, and I tend to think anniversaries are the same. Just as one great anniversary day doesn't make up for a year-long bad marriage, one iffy anniversary day doesn't destroy a solid marriage. Should it have been more celebratory? Probably. But will I let it bother me? Nope. We're blessed, and that's all that truly matters.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Car seat switch and other weekend notes...

Ok, so I didn't take any pictures that I was hoping to this weekend. It just seemed like every reasonable photo opportunity just wasn't convenient. I only had so many hands and the good picture moments were few and far between, it seemed. I did manage to get a couple keepers, but they'll probably wait for another post on another day.

Anyway, it was a pretty good weekend. It had its share of Jacob meltdowns as usual, but I suppose the rest of it was fun enough to make up for it a bit. We went to a lacrosse game on Friday night, the drive-in on Saturday, and finally got in the pool yesterday. The lacrosse game was good, though Jacob didn't have his usual focus during the game so we were up and around quite a bit. We did spend a good half hour or so out in the concourse at one point, while Jacob threw a lacrosse ball (plastic one, not real) at me with his lacrosse stick, or had me do the same to him. I only wanted to carry one stick, so we had these odd games of catch going on. It was pretty cute, though, when Jacob gave me the stick and ball, stood in front of a big brick pillar and called it his net :) Craig was working the game, so it was just the two of us for most of the evening until Craig came down to visit. The game was a Major League Lacrosse regular season game for a team that's spending their entire season on the road. It's the same league that the Rattlers played in, and only Jacob's third outdoor lacrosse game ever. We went to one when he was six weeks old during the Rattlers final season in Rochester (albeit a championship one), and another last summer in Toronto. Anyway, people in the concourse thought he was pretty funny, and apparently a cotton candy vendor thought he was cute because she gave us a free bag--apparently some rule where if something happens (didn't catch if it was because the cone broke through the top of the "puff" or what), she can't sell the bag. Very sweet of her. Jacob enjoyed it quite a bit, though after a couple minutes not even that could keep him from his concourse lacrosse game! He fell asleep on the way home and I stayed up way to late to FINALLY finish off my DVR'ed episodes of The Biggest Loser. A month late. Ahhh, parenthood. (Speaking of which, we still have an entire season of Parenthood episodes on DVR...and since Big Brother starts next week, I'm wondering what the odds are we'll get through those by the end of the summer.)

Saturday Jacob woke up at 7am, which was way too early. Craig got up with him (took one for the team since he was out the night before), and eventually I dragged myself out of bed to join them. I guess we had a pretty low key morning, and I was particularly disappointed by the crappy weather, which I didn't realize was supposed to be that crappy. We had some lunch, Jacob took a long nap, and by late afternoon/early evening we headed off to run a few errands, grab some dinner, and go to the drive-in to see Toy Story 3. We decided to keep things simple and go to the drive-in that's closer to us, rather than the super-fun one that's an hour away. Jacob fell asleep at the end of our last errand and slept the 15 minutes there, but woke up shortly after our arrival...and stayed awake forever. He didn't want to sit in his car seat, but was constantly squirming up front, hitting radio buttons with his feet and trying to honk the car horn. Oy. The movie started at 9:20, already past his bedtime, and he stayed awake not only for the movie, not only for the 25 minute ride home, but also for about 45 minutes after we got home and put him to bed. Seriously? It was almost 1am by the time he was asleep. Yikes. Schedules are great things...until you deviate from them and any sense of order comes crashing down into a million pieces.

But before I get into Sunday, a little pondering of the car seat situation. Jacob's are still rear-facing. Both of our carseats have a 35 lb. rear-facing capacity. So as long as his head doesn't pop up to the top of the seat, he's ok to stay rear-facing until he hits 35 lbs. He's just over 28 lbs. now, and judging by how he eats, I don't think it's going to creep up any too fast. Yes, we could have turned him at his first birthday like most of his peers, but I did some research and rear-facing is safer. He was content that way, and other than the steps I'd have to take to prevent dirty shoes from getting all over my backseat, I was fine with it too. Fast forward another year, and we're still rear-facing. I've thought about switching a bit before, but really found no good reason to do it...at least, not better than giving him a safer ride. But when we went to the drive-in, I spent a few minutes in the backseat after Jacob woke up turning his seat around so he could sit in it, watch the movie, ideally fall asleep, and ride home safely while still sleeping. But for some reason he found no novelty in the new setup. He didn't want to sit in it during the movie and spent a good chunk of the drive home complaining about it, and did the same thing yesterday when we were driving around. I can't quite understand what he's saying, but it's almost like he realized that there's a whole front part of the car he hasn't been able to check out and is now annoyed with facing forward because he wants to be up front instead. Maybe he misses having the mirror he faced in my car. I have no idea, but I find the whole thing bizarre. I may keep him front-facing a bit longer, until I feel like switching him back, but if he keeps whining I may have more motivation to do that sooner.

Anyway...Sunday. Knowing how late Jacob was up on Saturday, I decided that I wasn't going to push church. We hardly ever skip when we're home and physically able to go, but we got up too late to go to the 9:45 service without rushing like maniacs, and the 11:15 service is always a nightmare for Jacob's schedule. He's always hyper and cranky and always seems to need a nap at that time, no matter when he woke up. It's pointless to go when we're both so preoccupied with keeping him quiet and entertained. And anyway, we got in a groove in the morning anyway, where we got a ton of stuff done after breakfast. Knowing that our house will be party central next Saturday, Craig started running around the basement hanging pictures that have been sitting around for a couple months. I followed suit, and we got a number of things done. We had a pleasant quickie lunch at Arby's (ahhh, the 2 subs for $4 coupon is the best!) and stopped to get gas, go to the bank, and to get a couple pool noodles at the dollar store. Jacob fell asleep on the way home and once he was in his crib, I spent most of his nap putting together my new IKEA bookshelf. It went pretty well and it looks very nice. I'm still debating what's going on it and what will be hanging around it, but it's a nice feeling to have it done. Our photo albums fit very well in it, though.

Once Jacob was up from his nap, we got ready to go in the pool. He had a couple tantrums during that process, but eventually we convinced him it would be fun. He liked going up the ladder and settled in pretty well as we adjusted to the cold water and got him in his boat. He seemed to like floating around and throwing a ball, so that was good. I floated on a raft for a while, but right around the time Jacob got bored the cold was starting to get to me, too. The air was comfortable, but apparently not warm enough to take the edge off. We still don't have a thermometer to know just how cold, but we'll need a good week of the solar cover to hopefully have it pleasant for the party. We had a nice evening of homemade fettucine alfredo for dinner and some fun play time, then bath and bed for Jacob and an evening of finishing up the bookshelf (drawers and screwing it to the wall) for me.

All in all it was a good weekend but I am finding myself extra tired today. Maybe it was our odd sleeping schedule. Maybe it's the stress of this work week. Maybe it's the building pressure for getting ready for the party on Saturday. Lots to think about!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Photo (and Video) Friday and other stuff...

Just wanted to share a couple pictures and other news and notes today...

Here are a couple shots from the really bad weekend a couple weeks ago...these were among the only batch of pictures I took that weekend, because everything else was so uninteresting. At least they're cute ones!


And here's a video courtesy of my dad, who happened to get video of one of Jacob's great hits while we were playing baseball in the yard last weekend. I have no idea if it's remarkable that a two-year-old can hit a baseball, but I'd have to think he's ahead of the game at least a bit. He got a baseball tee from us for his birthday, so I can only see him getting better :)


Let's see...what else is new? Jacob is talking up a storm these days, more and more every day it seems. He's really into colors and using them as adjectives...blue shirt, brown door, red bat. The other day when I picked him up at daycare, he proceeded to point at all of the news and notes tacked on the bulletin board, backed by colored construction paper, and tell me the color of each one. And he was right! He's also noticing differences between "big" and "little" things. Last night we read a book, "Moo, Baa, La La La", a book we got when Jacob was born. It's pretty simple so I always figured it would be among the first he would read to me, but he's already getting to the point where he knows a lot of the words. It's so cute and I love seeing him learn. He's also getting there with the alphabet--not really recognizing letters yet (though one of his teachers taught him "Y"), but his singing of the song is getting clearer. He can count from one to ten (and he's forgetting "four" a lot less), and it took some doing, but I think we've finally taught him to respond with "Two!" if anyone asks his age. He appears to be soaking things up like a sponge right now...everything except the rules, of course.

I've been feeling a little guilty lately because I simply haven't been around as much. There were a few nights in the past couple weeks where I had Craig put Jacob to bed because I had to go out and run some errands, and one morning where I had him take him into daycare because I forgot something on one of those errands and had to run out and get it the next morning before work. Monday night Craig and I both went out for a fundraiser event for a friend and former co-worker of ours (also a former Amerk player) who's been diagnosed with stomach cancer. The prognosis isn't good, but he's fighting it like crazy. He's only in his early 40s and has four kids ranging in age from about 13 to nine months. Yeah, horrible beyond words. I can't even fathom what they're going through. Anyway, it was a great night out with celebrity bartenders from around the local hockey world--including NHLers Brian Gionta and Ryan Callahan, both Rochester guys, and Andrew Peters, Nathan Paetsch, Patrick Kaleta, who all played in the NHL last year. Rob Ray made an appearance, as did current Amerk Rory Fitzpatrick, Mr. Amerk Jody Gage, and former Amerks' head coach Randy Cunneyworth. It was pretty awesome to see. And definitely worth an evening away. Lori came to watch Jacob, and he did fuss a bit when I left, but apparently he eventually got over it. Still, on top of everything else, I felt a little guilty for being gone again. But, I suppose it's good for both of us in the long run...he can learn to deal with adversity, and I get a little refreshing break.

Then came Wednesday. I had marked that day on my calendar a couple weeks ago, because I was browsing the IKEA website drooling over some furniture when I noticed that the Burlington location, the one closest to Rochester, was offering up the exact piece of furniture I wanted for $130 less than its usual price for that ONE day. It was on their events calendar for that location only, and I was determined to find a way to get it. The piece is a tall bookshelf with a cabinet on the bottom that matches our dining room buffet (not to mention our bedroom dressers, in case we ever move again and need that flexibility). It's purpose is going to be to hold our photo albums in the cabinet and assorted knicknacks on its shelves. It's regularly $229 in Canada ($149 in the US), but it was on sale for only $99. The challenge is that the sale was only on Wednesday and that it was a ridiculously long box--over 78 inches long. But it was only about two feet wide and less than four inches thick, so as long as I could make the length work, I'd be fine. At first I wasn't sure if my car could do it, but at the 11th hour I figured out that it would fit if I moved the seat forward. There was also the issue of getting there early to make sure I could get it after traveling all that way. After soliciting Facebook for potential travel companions, my dad graciously offered to help...and drive his slightly bigger car, just to be safe. So, after Jacob was in bed on Tuesday night, I headed to Buffalo. We left at 8:15 the next morning and made a stop at the Chapters book store in St. Catharines so I could pick up four more Brady Brady books. Jacob loves them since they're all about hockey, and since we got our initial set they've come out with a few more. I know we will appreciate having more variety to choose from! And even better, it was buy three, get one free. Score! We got to IKEA in time, found out that they'd changed the promotion, but still got them to give us the bookshelf for the advertised price. Whew. We loaded it in the car, did a little more shopping, and headed back. We spent a nice afternoon together, experienced a random earthquake (!), and I headed back to Rochester in time to get the bookshelf unloaded, put Jacob's car seat back in the car, and pick him up from daycare. He seemed to survive unscathed, though Craig did tell me that Jacob woke up at 3:30am when I was gone. He was complaining of foot pain, so who knows what was up with that. His shoes may be too small, but it's hard to tell. Anyway, Craig brought him into our room to sleep for a bit, and when Jacob got there, he said, "No mama?" Awwwww. It's nice to be missed.

I guess the only other thing to report is that Jacob had his two-year well visit today. Everything went well and the doctor is very pleased with his progress. He's over 28 pounds and 34 inches tall, right on his same curve in the middle of the pack. His BMI (yep, they do it for two-year-olds) is right on target. He must be eating somewhere! The only other thing of note is that the doctor suggested taking him to a dermatologist for a mole he has on his leg. It started out as a speck sometime in the winter and it's gradually gotten bigger. Whether that's the mole itself or because Jacob is growing, too, I'm not sure. It's still small, but pretty dark in color and slightly raised, so she felt it was worth getting checked out. It's probably nothing, but you never know. If anything, I'd rather have it removed now if it looks troublesome, before it's grown a ton and is harder to take off. So, another appointment to make. Of course, I forgot to ask one of the few questions I had, about whether or not she was comfortable with him switching to 2% milk. Since his growth seems to be fine I'm sure it is, but you always like to hear it to be safe. I guess when the mood stikes I'll buy some 2% and leave it at that :)

We have a fun weekend in store, so hopefully I'll have a few pictures to share soon! Have a great one!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pregnancy Obsession?

Lately I've been beginning to wonder if I'm a little obsessed with pregnancy. It's been two whole years since I've been pregnant, but I probably think about it nearly every day. To be fair, I probably put myself in situations to be reminded of it. I read a pregnancy blog frequently (the bloggers keep changing and you kinda get hooked on the new blogger before the next one is done), and many of the parenting blogs I read refer to it a lot. There was a pregnant woman in my office since last fall, though she had her baby a month or so ago so that reminder has been removed. But in general so many things bring it to mind. And sure, pregnancy was the single most life-changing thing I've ever experienced. It was the thing that ultimately produced Jacob, and with that daily reminder, it's a little hard to forget that I went through the experience (though looking back on it, it is pretty surreal). This blog probably doesn't help, either, since I have an easy-to-reference spot that recorded all of those random little details and looks back at them frequently. But even still, I find it so hard to believe that pregnancy has impacted my daily life so immensely.

I think another issue is that we're ticking down on the time when we would "ideally" start working on #2. We want them three years apart and Jacob just turned two, so you can do the math. And while physically I'm probably as ready as I've ever been, I'm not sure about the rest of me. For a long time I couldn't imagine being pregnant again, since I still felt like my body was recovering to some degree. Now that's less of an issue, though I'm not in as good of shape as I was before my first pregnancy, so I have some concerns about how much worse I might end up the second time around. I do worry about having enough energy to care for Jacob while pregnant because I know how exhausted I was some days, particularly early on. And carrying a baby belly and a big boy around? Holy cow...and that's not even getting into morning sickness. But mentally and emotionally....I'm just not sure what to think. On one hand Jacob is old enough that I miss some of the early baby stuff, like the big toothless grin and those adorable baby noises. But we're also out of some of the really annoying baby stuff, like major diaper blowouts and 'round the clock feedings and frequent night time wakeups. And suddenly, I'm finding myself really reluctant to go back to that. Up until recently it didn't scare me, but I think I've realized how low-maintenance Jacob is with those things now (higher maintenance in other ways, of course), and I'm finding it a little scary to go back.


I think my biggest fear resides in the fact that Jacob and other things keep me very busy. Between Jacob and work and the house and all the other little errands and tasks I need to do, I'm pretty tired right now. There are days that I feel like I don't have time for anything else...at least, not if I want some downtime to just relax. So, if I remember back to how crazy things were with an infant, I can't quite wrap my brain around how the H-E-double hockey sticks I'm supposed to take care of a baby on TOP of all the other stuff that's currently pulling me in all directions. There are times I go out on errands and think, "Would it be possible to do this with Jacob AND a baby?" And much of the time I think the answer is no. However, by then Jacob would be a year older (which I suppose means nothing because there's always issues to work around) and I think I'd tend to use the Bjorn carrier a lot more so I could have the baby hands-free (meaning, not in the car seat) and still have my hands to hold Jacob's hand or leave the shopping cart seat for Jacob to sit in, etc. So maybe it would be doable. But maybe it's just too hard. I hardly went anywhere when Jacob was little, and while I'm more experienced now, I know how hard it is to schedule around one baby's meals, naps and bowel movements (sorry, I'm public blowout-phobic), let alone adding another kid's needs into the mix. We don't have a lot of readily available help here, so it's not as simple as dropping off one or the other with someone when I need to run out. We do have some options, but right now they all take planning and aren't particularly convenient.

And there's always the issue of how we'd pay for another round of daycare. Even with two kids I still make more than we'd spend on it, but obviously the difference would get considerably smaller. But it pretty much spells an end to saving money for a while. Is it worth it for a couple years until Jacob's in school and we're paying for only afterschool fees for him? Do we do it and keep hoping our situation changes for the better and I find some miraculous way to work part time? At least we'd be spending less on daycare and getting more quality time out of it. And in a perfect world I'd have more flexibility so I'd be less stressed overall. Like, if I HAD to go to the mall during the day I could, rather than waiting until after bedtime and rushing to get it all done in a half hour before the mall closes. I could schedule doctor's appointments for off-days and not worry about making up the time later (like I will be doing tomorrow for Jacob's two-year well visit). But right now, that's just a pipe dream and we have to live in reality.

But overall it's just the concern of bringing a poor, defenseless baby into a stressful environment. I am tired and stressed a lot. If I'm more tired and stressed now than I was with just Jacob alone, will that baby not get the same love and care Jacob did? Will I just be too tired? Craig's crazy schedule will still be crazy, and come the following fall with a new baby I'd be right back where I am every fall and winter, with Craig-less weekends...which means more time where everything falls on me. And if he's not around to help or is tired himself when he is home, will I resent him for being unable to help? It seems that would be unfair to him since I went into it knowing that this is how things would be. It's so hard. On one hand I think, "The hard part is the first year or so, and then it gets easier." But then I worry that that one year will do irreparable damage to our marriage or to Jacob to our mental health and get nervous all over again. What if it's really that bad? But then again, people have two kids all the time...even people that both work full time. And sometimes they have more...and somehow they make it work. I guess I just keep holding on to that. The house might not get cleaned as often and my dinners may not be as perfectly fancy as I'd like them to be, but if both kids are loved, we're doing something right. But it's still a tough call.

For the longest time I felt like our family was incomplete with only Jacob. I grew up in a family of four, and so did Craig. I guess it's only natural. And as much as I will love #2 if it's a boy (with everything I have, no doubt), I will probably always feel a twinge of regret if I never have a daughter to be able to experience a mother-daughter relationship like I had with my mom. Even still, lately our family has seemed more complete to me, maybe because of this fear, and maybe because Jacob is developing into such a little person now that things just seem a little more complete. We're settling into our house, we have space, and despite his boundless energy, caring for Jacob is manageable. Why change it? And perhaps we could wait another year, until Jacob's four and practically school age, but will we be even MORE comfortable by then and really not want to do it again? And not that I can even fathom this, but on the off-chance that #2 is a boy AND we'd want to try for a girl again, that extra year makes us even older.

So, yeah, it's a lot to think about, and I do think about it often. Which is probably why pregnancy is still such an important topic on my mind these days. While I think the desire to give Jacob a sibling and experience the baby stuff one more time (so hopefully we can enjoy it more now that we know what we're doing--sort of) will win out, it is still a major decision that I don't want to take lightly. It's going to be a heck of a lot harder to toss out the birth control this time than it was before, that's for sure. More musings to come on this, I'm guessing, but that's enough heavy stuff for one day...

Monday, June 21, 2010

Birthday, Take 1

So...Jacob's birthday was this weekend. But, of course, for reasons I've already discussed, we opted to not have his party this weekend...or next weekend, for that matter. Instead, we were off to Buffalo for some family time, first with my parents on Saturday, then with Craig's family on Sunday. We spent most of Friday evening trying to get packed up and ready for the weekend. I did some clothes shopping (I am seriously lacking appropriate summer clothing this year--between shifts in my body from pre-pregnancy to nursing to now and just general style changes, I'm at a loss) and then ordered pizza. Some packing, some wrapping, and that was the extent of it.

Saturday morning we got up with Jacob (around 8am, not bad) and then scrambled to finish last minute packing. Our pool is still vexing us a bit, between chemicals and filters and timers, but at this point we're ok to swim in it...we just need to work a couple maintenance things out. Figuring out how it had to be set for the weekend set us back a bit, but we got on the road about when we'd hoped to, which was a small miracle. We got to NT a little after noon, had time for some lunch, and then headed out to the Firemen's Parade, a longstanding tradition. I hadn't been to that parade in ages, so it was neat to go again. Jacob's first parade was last summer, but obviously he was a little more conscious of it all this year and we got to watch longer. He wasn't particularly phased by it all, though did sit nicely most of the time. He was referring to the fire trucks as "buses", and my dad corrected me when I said that buses are yellow and fire trucks are red, because some fire trucks are yellow. And sure enough, the City of Tonawanda has yellow fire trucks. Why? Ugh. He just seemed to take it all in. He even got to try his first Tootsie Roll, courtesy of one of the candy throwers during the parade. He loved it, as evidenced by the bite mark on my finger as he nearly bit it off trying to chew the last piece. Seeing as it was his first one, I was making him take bites, and the last bite got me. Ouch. Anyway, here are a couple cute pics from when we were waiting for the parade to make it to us...it was a hot day, but Jacob was having a lot of fun running around between water breaks!

Once we were back at my parents' house we had some time to relax and play. Lots of baseball in the backyard, and a couple slides down their little slide. Jacob did really good hitting the baseball, and I will post a video soon with proof! After dinner we headed over to my grandma's house with some cupcakes for a mini-birthday celebration. I brought some extras from the batch I made for daycare. It was a little experimental thanks to not being sure if my oil was still good. I opted to do the egg-free recipe, so I had to use the only light-colored soda we had, Wegmans Diet Cherry Wedge--a cherry-grapefruit flavor. It gave the white cake a hint of cherry flavor, and I did my experimental icing with milk, powdered sugar, vanilla and a drop of blue food coloring. It didn't turn out too bad! Here's our happy little family...



After that we headed out to Craig's side of the family. Jacob fell asleep on the way there, which led to the snuggling I posted about yesterday. When we woke up the next morning, I decided to try to institute a tradition from when I was a kid into my own family. I remember many birthday mornings where I headed into my parents' room and got to open my birthday gifts from them on their bed. I don't know if that was all my gifts or just a select few, if it was done that way on purpose or if that's just how it worked out, or even if it happened that way every year, but I have vivid memories of that and I always thought it was sort of cool. So, once Jacob was up he got to open up the one gift I bothering bringing with us--his magnetic doodler. He didn't get all jumping up and down excited, but few things do that for him outside of sports and Elmocizing. But he still seemed very interested and couldn't wait to play with it. Based on his responses to it since, I think I picked a winner. He was so obsessed with the ones at daycare that I figured I had to give it a shot.

Craig was recruited to help with his brother's campaign for a good chunk of the day, so for a while it was just Jacob and me. We ran to get the ice cream needed to make the ice cream cake I was making for the tiny Jacob portion of his cousins' birthday party, and then stopped at the playground while the ice cream softened up in the car. We did the slide, the swings, and a couple other random things before heading back to Craig's parents'. I worked on the cake while Jacob played, then took him on a little walk to knock him out and get him napped before the party. He fell asleep pretty quickly, but only stayed asleep for about 30-45 minutes. Ugh. Still, other than a couple small tantrums, he was a very good boy for most of the day. We played a lot of baseball, ate a LOT of fruit and tortilla chips, and finally did get him in the pool after cake time. He was staring at it all day but kept saying "no" when we asked him if he wanted to go in. I think he didn't want to take time away from his playing to get changed, honestly. He got sung to after the twins, and he really seemed to enjoy the attention. He sings "Happy Birthday" a lot, and even tries to sing "Sto lat", the Polish version of the song. Here are the lyrics, per Wikipedia:
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje, żyje nam.
Sto lat, sto lat, Niech żyje, żyje nam,
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz,
niech żyje, żyje nam,
Niech żyje nam!

This translates roughly into English as:

A hundred years, a hundred years,
May he (she) live for us.
A hundred years, a hundred years,
May he live for us.
Once again, once again,
may he live, live for us,
May he live for us!

Jacob only gets the "Sto lat" part out, but it's cute that he tries. He'll still probaly learn it quicker than I did. I think it took me a good six years or so to be able to sing along completely. As has been his M.O. lately, he didn't eat any cake. I think he's just too busy running around doing other things. I think I ate plenty for both of us, though. It was just too good!

After a great swim in the toasty warm pool it was time to head home. Jacob was out practically before we were out of Craig's parents' neighborhood, and Craig was out before we even hit the second exit on the Thruway. I have a picture of both of them sleeping (yeah, I took it while driving on the Thruway, using my rear view mirror and holding the camera up--I swear, I was careful), but I will refrain from posting it here (for now) because Craig might not appreciate it. It's cute, though.

Jacob woke up a bit when we got home and I got him in bed, but he stayed quiet and snuggled with me in bed while Craig unpacked and we chatted a bit. Eventually he just fell back to sleep and that was it. I finished off the evening with a new batch of icing for the remaining cupcakes, some laundry and a blog post. Weekend complete.

Now we just need to get through this week for what we hope will be a pleasant weekend including lots of pool time and a trip to the drive-in, among other things. Craig and I are going to a fundraising event tonight (night out!), Craig has softball tomorrow, and I'm planning an ill-advised trip to IKEA in Burlington, ON on Wednesday to try to buy a piece of furniture that's too long for my car. I'm either going to try to bungee it in (at least until I get back to Buffalo, if all else fails), or I'll return it on the spot, or I'll look into shipping it back. The piece I want is ridiculously on sale ($99 down from $229) for one day, and I'm determined to get it here somehow. I'd like a riding/shopping/lifting/bungeeing partner, but so far no takers. Even better if that person came with a bigger vehicle. I keep thinking about renting a vehicle, but for one that big it appears to be cost-prohibitive. Still thinking about it, though. So, yeah, busy week coming up...but busy's good, I guess...it keeps things interesting!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Two Years Old!

Wow...Jacob is officially two years old!  What an amazing two years it has been.  A lot of random thoughts have floated in and out of my head in the last few days, thinking back to what I was doing two years ago at any given moment.  I couldn't help but smile and laugh a little on Friday night as I climbed into bed, thinking about how two years ago at that moment I was probably wandering around the house waiting for the doctor to call back and advise us on how to proceed with my leaking amniotic fluid.  I was half panicked, half full of adrenaline, and completely overwhelmed.  How can I focus enough to pack my hospital bag?  Are we going to be up all night, waiting to run to the hospital at any given moment?  And if we stayed at home, would I even be able to sleep when every shift of my body caused another trickle?  What a night that was.  Yesterday morning I thought about the visit to the doctor's to confirm what was happening, followed by a non-stress test and our stop at our respective offices to wrap things up before getting the official call to head to the hospital.  At lunch time I thought about our long wait in the hospital lobby before they got us into a room.  At dinner I recalled how I was just starting to feel some pain at that point, and by bedtime I was thinking about the odd hours in between the epidural and full dilation, prior to pushing.  Such an odd time of trying to rest, knowing I could never sleep, and yet being a little jealous of whatever sleep and food Craig got.  And today I relived a couple moments as well, though Jacob's birth day was a little less triumphant than the rest, I suppose, for reasons I'll get into in a bit.

Last night I had the distinct pleasure of snuggling Jacob for a good hour or two.  Craig was headed out for a guys night out with his dad and brother, and Jacob was headed to bed...but he'd napped a bit on our way to Craig's parents, for about an hour between 7:00 and 8:00, and he was having trouble winding down.  I was pretty sleepy myself, so I laid down with him...and much to my surprise he snuggled right in.  It's rare he does that these days, since he's always moving!  We snuggled for quite a while, both of us unable to sleep.  But it was the most relaxing and enjoyable time, other than the nagging thought that Jacob needed to be sleeping so he'd be in a good mood for his birthday!  Eventually I did have to put him in his pack 'n' play and let him nod off on his own, but I truly enjoyed the experience.  And we did much the same tonight after he woke up upon our arrival home and didn't quite seem ready to go to bed.  This time he did fall asleep with me, though, and I was more than happy to put him into bed sleeping soundly.  It just seemed appropriate to spend that one-on-one close time with him these last couple days, almost commemorating the closeness we left behind two years ago today, that of him actually living inside my belly.

I still think back on pregnancy often...probably too often, in fact.  I'll leave that topic for another post, but I suppose his approaching birthday probably brought up more memories than usual in the last week or two.  And tonight on the drive home I couldn't help but think of that awkward first day post-pregnancy.  Looking back on it now I realize just how awkward it was.  As you may recall, Jacob was born at 2:40am.  After a couple hours of cleanup and regaining full control of my body, I finally got transferred into my hospital room, ate a good meal (one of the best of my life, despite its contents), and called my parents.  The next couple hours were a blur, somewhere between sleep and awkward attempts to nurse.  I could hardly move from my bed and Jacob's bassinet was at the end of my bed, and Craig was too sound asleep to help me when Jacob cried.  Arg.  Sometime around 6am, I think, a nurse came in and didn't like what she was seeing. She whisked Jacob off to the nursery to have him checked out, and there he stayed.  I got a couple updates here and there, but in all of my concern and confusion I never really figured out what my role should be that day.  I couldn't nurse him yet because he was all hooked up to IVs and machines, and I wasn't too mobile anyway to get up and wander there myself.  I blogged and watched a lot of TV, tried to nap, and just generally worried.  Craig went down to the nursery a couple times, but I don't think I made my way down there until the early evening.  I just wasn't sure what to do.  I don't think anyone told me that I could go down there, and I was too tired to think to ask.  I think I eventually just went because I figured I should.  And that time was great.  I got some awesome pictures, had some great visitors, and really enjoyed motherhood for the first time.  The rest of the week probably went downhill pretty fast with all of Jacob's treatments and my mental breakdown, but it was a nice moment nonetheless. 

I still look back on that first week with a little regret, because we never got the traditional picture in the hospital room of mom and baby, or our new little family.  And I don't have nearly enough pictures of Jacob from that first week, since the whole thing of being in the hospital, overtired, uncomfortable and definitely not feeling at home was quite a distraction.  I guess I didn't want a bunch of pictures of my bionic baby all hooked up to wires.  Not exactly the picture-perfect, adorable shots most people have filling their albums from that first week or two.  It's definitely one of the things I hope to do differently next time, regardless of any tubes and wires that might get in the way.

But here we are two years later with a healthy, happy little boy.  He's four times heavier and nearly a foot longer than he was back then, and is such an armful now that I've pretty much given up standing up while rocking him, on the rare occasions that he needs it.  I marvel as I run my fingers through his full head of hair, grab his chubby thighs and rub his round belly, sans umbilical cord...appreciating all of the things that were so different the day he was born.  He's talking up a storm these days, using adjectives and full (short) sentences now.  It's amazing.  Today we played on a playground (more on our weekend coming soon) and I smiled as he climbed up the stairs to the slide all by himself (with me closely behind, of course).  I never could have thought far enough ahead back then to imagine the little boy he'd be two years later.  Back then it was one day at a time, if not one hour.  Lately I've been second-guessing the sure-thing second child decree I had back when I was pregnant ("If we have one, we're having two"), for a few reasons that I'll get into another time (perhaps as part of the pregnancy post), but today was a reminder of how far we've come, and how amazing it is to watch your child grow when you have a benchmark like today to help mark your progress.  It's hard, hard work, but it's amazing and rewarding and such a unique experience that you can never wish it away.  Sure, sometimes you need a break, or wish you could hop in a time machine to go back to a more carefree time, but parenthood changes you in ways you never imagined.  I'm a vastly different person than who I was two years ago, in some ways I can't even explain and in others far too obvious (yes, I worry and yell a lot more, but I also love more, too).  It's been one heck of a ride and it's hard to believe our lives have been upside down (or right side up?) for two whole years.  Sleep deprivation and stress aside, it's an honor to be Jacob's mommy.  When we were cuddling and he grabbed my hand to hold it or put it around him tighter, there's nothing better in the world than that.  Simply perfect.  He's not a perfect child and we're not perfect parents, but that was a perfect moment nonetheless.  Happy Birthday to my little man, the greatest gift I have ever received. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Birthday Celebrating

I'm feeling a little discombobulated when it comes to Jacob's birthday. His actual birthday is Sunday, but due to numerous family conflicts (parties Saturday, Sunday, and next Saturday), not to mention Father's Day, we figured it would be a tough sell to get anyone out to Rochester during either of those weekends. So, we're going to have Jacob's party on July 3rd, assuming I can ever get the invites out. Yes, it's July 4th weekend, but let's face it, for as many people as might be involved with other parties or picnics, there's that many more that might find that weekend more convenient since they might have an extra day to work with, assuming their employers are nice and give them the 5th off (like both of ours). And really, anytime past that is just getting to be too far out. I should have just snagged this Saturday (the 19th) ages ago, but I'm a procrastinator and this is what happens. It doesn't help that we have big families with lots of birthdays, graduations and first communions this time of year. God forbid baby #2 is born in June. Anyway...

For so long Jacob's birthday seemed so far off. But just when it started to get closer, then the party planning issues came up and all of a sudden it felt far away again since we wouldn't be having the official celebration for another couple weeks after. BUT...his actual birthday is still this Sunday and I'm suddenly feeling a little panicked because 1) I still don't feel like we're done buying gifts; 2) We still have two other birthday gifts to buy and pack for our niece and nephew whose birthday is today and party is Sunday; 3) I feel like I should be a good mom and send a birthday treat to daycare on Friday, and was given no other guidance besides, "Nothing with a lot of frosting"; 4) I want to celebrate with cake this weekend, though we're traveling which makes that considerably more complicated.

My sister-in-law offered to make another cake for Jacob for Sunday since she's already making one for her own kids. I appreciate this immensely, particularly considering the egg allergy thing, but at the same time...she's got enough to do and I feel like I should make my own cake for my own kid...if only for practice! I also thought about doing an ice cream cake, which would be something different than the cake for the twins, and probably rather easy to make egg-free. I have a couple recipes I've been dying to try (for years!) so this might be the chance. It's just how convenient (or not) it will be to make it. It might be easier (read: more comfortable) to make it ahead at our house or my parents' house, but transporting would be an issue. So...I need to think about that a little more. I'd like to bring something to my parents' as well, for when we're there Saturday (I think--still scheduling) but I'm still pondering that as well.

For daycare, I really wanted to be Super Mom and bring in cupcakes. That was THE BEST as a kid, so I'd like to start that now. I think other kids have brought goodie bags (at least, I think the Spongebob goodie bag Jacob brought home was from a birthday) and cake for theirs, and I'd like to be a cool mom, too. No time like the present. But the "no frosting" request sort of made me stop and think. I mean, I could do just a nice light frost, which I think is probably acceptable in contrast to those crazy cupcakes that Wegmans sells with the half-cup dollop of fluorescent frosting. Or I could just do some icing--you know, powdered sugar, milk and maybe some vanilla, which will harden and in theory be less of a mess. Or maybe I just go the cop-out route and buy something like cookies, or go the healthy route and bring in fruit cups or something. No idea. It's only nine kids, so inevitably something will either go to waste or provide us with leftovers (which are great but probably the last thing we need sitting around).

Gifts are probably the last worry on my list, because we have two good ones. He's getting a baseball tee and a Fisher-Price Doodle Pro. The baseball tee will save Jacob a lot of frustration and us some broken bones in our hands. It's a real one, not just a kiddie one, so not only was it cheaper, but it will also last longer. The Doodle Pro (one of those magnetic drawing boards) is because he's obsessed with the one at daycare. Inevitably, he will not play with it at all at home, but I figured I'd take the chance. If nothing else it will be a car toy for trips. I would still like to get him a pool toy for our pool, maybe something to ride in or float on. We had also talked about getting him a baseball glove, but he did get a free one at the Red Wings game and he doesn't seem quite ready yet so maybe that will wait for Christmas or his next birthday. I've had about 30 things run through my mind in the past six months, and yet, this is where we stand with two gifts in hand four days before.

Of course, right now he doesn't know the difference. It doesn't really matter to him that his party is in two weeks or that he might not get his gifts on his birthday because it doesn't make a lot of sense to transport them. Sure, the Doodle Pro might be handy for the trip (though I do still prefer a sleeping child for long drives), but giving him the tee and leaving home for two days without it just seems cruel. He doesn't really care about cake (though I'm sure he will enjoy being able to eat it multiple times--assuming he'll sit long enough to do it) and won't really understand why he's being sung to multiple times over the next few weeks. And thank goodness for that. I'm convinced God gave us clueless babies to give us time to refine our parenting skills in many different ways before they truly know the difference. It takes time to get in the groove of the many kid-related activities surrounding birthdays and holidays, so at least we get a couple years before our kids know any better.

All in all, this birthday feels a bit cobbled together. One celebration here, another there, travels back and forth, and a holiday thrown in for good measure. Should be fun, but still lots of work ahead!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

General Updates

Since I got all of my complaining out of my system yesterday, I guess I can try to focus on some other things today. And before I go any further, I apologize if I sounded like a cruel, harsh parent in yesterday's post. Sunday's events seriously made me crazy, and I literally couldn't spend any more time with Jacob...for the good of both of us. I was so fed up with his behavior and couldn't even look at things objectively anymore, so every little thing he did just made things exponentially worse. But I did say, too, obviously you don't stop loving your child even at moments like that. And probably admitting you need a break is better than what some parents do, which is explode and take it out on their kids. If I would have been alone in that scenario, I probably would have left Jacob in his crib for the rest of the day, or at least until I chilled out. I actually did do that for about 15 minutes during one freak-out when it was obvious that he needed to calm down and I was tired of yelling and dealing with a kicking, screaming child. But fortunately, that evening I did have Craig, and even more fortunately, Jacob fell asleep on the way home and stayed asleep, which meant we didn't have to do our bedtime routine. It was a relief, to say the least. I know that he's two (or almost, anyway) and he's going to have those moments. Sunday was an extreme example, for sure. I can't expect perfection. But I can still hope for some logic to creep in at some point.

So...that said....in other news...

Yesterday's post was #450 in the life of this blog. That's pretty crazy. I've been at it for almost 2-1/2 years now. Some people ask me if I'm ever going to do anything with the blog to keep it for posterity. I'm honestly not sure how I would go about that, particularly now that it's so big. I'd love to go to Kinko's and say, "Can you open up this webpage, click on every month, and print each one in color?" I doubt that would go over well, and it could end up pretty darn expensive. Hopefully it will be here forever, but it would be nice to have a printed copy somewhere, just in case the internet blows up or Blogspot goes away. It happened to my beloved webpage, so if Geocities can go away, I suppose this can too someday. Or maybe someday I'll have a decent printer and just commit one toner cartridge to doing it myself. Or maybe I can pay off my office and do it here based on our cost per page. Hmmm. In any event, it's an interesting version of a baby book, and over the long term, a form of a family history.

Jacob is getting his two-year molars. Thus far there have been no major side effects beyond a lot of hand chewing. Jacob either seems to have a lot of buildup to the teething process, or he's a compulsive hand chewer. I think he started drooling and knawing on his fingers (not sucking, mind you, just chewing) very early on, but didn't get teeth until about he was eight months old. His last batch of teeth came in quite a while ago, but he's been chewing on his hands a lot for the last few months even though there was no sign of the two-year molars. Since he's been doing it so much for so long, it hardly occurred to me (despite his rapidly approaching birthday) that they could be coming in since we've been sleeping blissfully. Usually teething has been accompanied by a few horrific weeks of sleeping (or lack thereof), so I fully expected to be back in sleep deprivation mode the second those teeth started breaking through. Jacob almost never lets me look in his mouth anyway, even when I'm brushing his teeth (I must say, "Open your mouth" about 20 times in less than two minutes), so I'd hardly ever get a good chance to see anyway. But the other night I happened to get a brief view, and caught a glimpse of something. Jacob was (finally) accomodating enough to let me stick my fingers in his mouth (ahhh, motherhood), and sure enough, one bottom molar had definitely poked through and the other was right there. I'm pretty sure that one's in now too. I still don't see anything up top. At the risk of jinxing myself, I must say that I am utterly relieved that we've made it this far without nighttime misery. It's like a miracle, particularly since I've heard these are often nightmarish teeth to come in. I'd imagine terrible twos and teething combine into a pretty nasty monster. Maybe general discomfort has been part of Jacob's tantrums...who knows? He has been having some cold sensitivity issues with some foods, but I can't tell if it's just a mental thing for him or if the cold causes him physical discomfort. Normally teething rings are cold and feel good during teething, but maybe there's something else at work here.

Jacob is really becoming an old pro at this talking thing. We still have our share of hard-to-decipher words, but he's definitely getting better at stringing words together. We've started getting into the "I do it"/"I get it"/"I hold it" statements, which are usually pretty cute. He can definitely put together a lot of subject/verb phases like, "Mommy bat" or "Daddy pitch" when we're playing baseball with him, or encouraging us to eat or drink or play. He's probably a little borderline bossy right now, but at the moment I have a hard time seeing him as being bossy with his friends. He's always been the center of our universe, so I suppose he'd think we'd be up for whatever he is.

That's all for today, I guess... :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Fed Up

I had a bad weekend. That almost never happens. I spend all week waiting for the weekend (yeah, way to wish away my summer), and then weekends usually go all too quick. I look forward to time with Jacob and Craig, and hope to do some fun stuff like hang out with family or go to the zoo or shopping for stuff we need or on some other adventure. For example, this coming weekend is Father's Day and we'll be heading to Buffalo for at least some time with family. We also want to try, if possible, to hit up the drive-in to see Toy Story 3. So just the mere prospect of those adventures is enough to keep me going all week. But this past weekend...ugh. It just stunk. And perhaps it's my own fault. But not entirely.

The biggest problem was that I just didn't do anything. I didn't even leave our property until Sunday morning for church. And beyond that we did go out to dinner. But that ended up just being a painful capper to the rest of the weekend, so I'm not sure it counts. Like I said, it may have been at least partially my fault. I should have just invented something to do instead of sitting around the house all weekend, but that's easier said than done. Friday night I had hoped to go out for ice cream or something, but that just didn't happen. Craig was mowing the lawn when Jacob and I got home, and all of a sudden he just stopped. It took a while to figure out, but a belt came off of our NEW lawn mower. Seriously? Figuring that out took a while, and by the time that was done (it's covered under warranty but they're not picking it up until tomorrow--our lawn is going to look awesome), we had a late dinner and it was really too late to do much else. Saturday Craig was playing in a golf tournament with a couple of the Knighthawks. Originally I was fine with that (although I don't think he told me until like, mid-week last week), but as the day wore on, it got to be frustrating. The weather was annoying...hot and humid early on, then cold and miserable after that. The weirdest thing about Saturday was that it actually wasn't a bad day. Jacob slept in late, was actually fun in the morning, had a slightly frustrating beginning to lunch, but ended up eating pretty well (albeit on my lap), then took a good two hour nap. I got some cleaning and yardwork done during that time, and then after some so-so playtime, we had a nice visit from Lori that lasted until Craig got home. Dinner actually went well, but then we stayed home that night again and I guess I was just sort of bored. Like, I waited all day for the evening so I/we could do something interesting (even if it was just going to the mall for a few minutes alone) but much like Friday, for various reasons it just didn't happen. And it was just disappointing.

So along came Sunday. I knew from the moment Jacob woke up that he was a little extra hyper, which didn't bode well for church. But breakfast was fine and church actually wasn't terrible. Near the end Jacob started getting loud and darting back and forth around the room, but fortunately there was a little boy there about the same age that was worse, so in comparison he didn't look too bad. More "high energy" than a "pain in the butt". Once we got home, the "fun" started. Jacob fell asleep on the way back from church, so we immediately put him in bed when we got home. Before we could even eat lunch, a guy came over to help Craig open our pool. He was there for five hours. Which meant that it was just Jacob and me for all five hours. His nap wasn't nearly long enough (maybe a little over an hour), and once he was up, he didn't sleep a wink for the rest of the day. He actually ate his lunch very well, but beyond that, he was hyper and fought me on everything--diaper changes, clothing changes, going outside and coming back in, what we did outside, you name it. By late afternoon, I was ready for the pool thing to be done so we could just go out to dinner. Oh, and did I mention that I was exhausted? I'm trying a new allergy medicine that can cause drowsiness, and while it doesn't seem to do it to me all the time, I have been having short spans where I am absolutely beat. One of those spans coming at the end of a very long afternoon (not helped by pool issues, either) just about did me in. And dinner? Ugh, it was a disaster. I don't think Jacob ate a bite of his food. He had a couple things off of our plates, but nothing from his. And I refused to let him eat the large helping of mandarin oranges he got with his meal until he ate some of his real food...but since that never happened, no oranges either (because I can't give in later, right?). And then he just got annoying. He starting throwing his placemat, screaming, hitting me (not hard, but repetitive), throwing food, squirming out of the booster seat (it got us a table immediately...they didn't seem jazzed about finding us a highchair-compatible table, and he HAS done a booster before so we figured we'd give it a shot--bad idea, though I'm not sure a high chair would have been any better), and just generally being a nasty little boy. Craig and I ended up switching spots, but eventually it got bad enough that even Craig was fed up and took him out for a spanking. And believe me, it usually takes a lot for that to happen. It was awful. Craig ended up taking him out for good when his behavior didn't improve, leaving me to wrap up the food and pay the bill. Jacob was falling asleep by the time I got into the car, so I know he was overtired. It was still frustrating, though, because he actually had earlier bedtimes all weekend than he usually does, and it was still an issue. Nothing felt better than plopping him into bed the moment we got home. I literally could not spend another moment with him.

I think what bothers us the most is that Jacob doesn't respond to any sort of discipline right now. Sure, if he gets a little handslap or spanking he might whine for a few seconds, but that's it. Raising voices does nothing. He will literally continue the bad behavior and smile at you. No matter how angry or direct you are to try to stop the behavior, he laughs through it. It's like he's missing the gene that tells you that an angry voice or actual physical restraint (i.e., covering his mouth when he's screaming in an inappropriate setting or holding his arm when he's trying to hit) is a bad thing. We haven't really gone the timeout route yet, but short of strapping him down, I don't know how we'd ever get him to sit down for one...because obviously yelling or constantly moving him back to the timeout area would not be effective. And how effective can it be if we're physically holding him there? We've tried taking things away. He'll lose his privileges to play with his baseball bat or hockey stick if he doesn't at least give dinner a good effort, or if he hits one of us with one of them. Usually it's just for the evening, because I'm not sure he'd remember the next day why he can't play with it, nor am I sure he's actually capable of controlling himself enough to make a continued punishment necessary. I think we need to start teaching him to be responsible with those things and to eat his dinner, but I'm just not sure there's enough malice behind it to prolong things. When we take things away, he usually spends the entire evening whining for that thing. We don't give in, of course, but I'm just not sure he's learning anything from it either because things never seem to get better.

It all seems like a big game to him, perhaps an attention grabber. He likes being cute and funny. And while I sometimes wonder if he doesn't respect me, I truly think that for some reason he just doesn't get it. And I just don't know why. Mommy and Daddy are mad. It's not funny. We're loud and we spank sometimes, yet he doesn't make the connection. There a few things more infuriating as a parent than being so angry you could spit, and yet having your child giggling through any sort of reprimand. I suppose on one hand it might be good that he doesn't fear us. I mean, I've read repeatedly that your kid shouldn't fear you, just respect you. Kids often misbehave more around their parents because they trust them and feel safe testing boundaries (yeah, lucky us). You know, there were times as a kid that I feared my parents and their punishments. And no, it wasn't fun. But if that's the only way to get Jacob to know we mean business when we scream at him not to run in the road or put something dangerous in his mouth, I'm willing to try it. But it's not my preferred method. Nor do I think it's working with him right now. Perhaps he knows we love him so much that he shouldn't possibly need to fear us. Or maybe he's just oblivious to needing to fear anything. There isn't much that phases him, actually. It's not too often he's glued to our laps in fear these days. But maybe he's just not cognitively at a point where he CAN respect us, or understand what that means. But to be unphased when we're angry...so frustrating.

I've tried positive reinforcement so he's not seeking out negative attention, but it only goes so far. I've tried talking to him calmly. But nothing seems to resonate with him. He just doesn't listen, no matter our tone or mood or method. This morning I asked at daycare if they could make a concerted effort to make sure that when they're reprimanding him, they're not injecting one ounce of humor into it. You know, like when your kid is sneaking somewhere he shouldn't, and you give them the, "What do you think you're doing?" line with a smile on your face. I don't want him thinking it's any sort of game or a situation where he can test us. And I suppose that's part of the problem--him being at daycare and us not having a lot of control over the discipline. While I don't doubt their methods, it's hard to make things 100% consistent, you know? But of course, as this weekend reminded me, I don't think I could do the stay-at-home mom thing either. All I do know is that by the time we left the restaurant, I couldn't even look at him. I had had it.

Of course, our kids can drive us nuts and we will still love them. It doesn't mean it's easy sometimes, but we do. And in the short term it can make it hard to even be a functional parent around them. It's easy to fall into a slippery slope where one little misbehavior on Jacob's part causes an overreaction on my part because I'm so sick of what we've already dealt with and freak out at the thought of going through it again. I need to try to put yesterday behind me and just deal with each day and each incident with a fresh outlook. I know that like all things, this phase will pass. He'll get into trouble of other sorts in future phases, but I just keep hoping that one day it will click in his head that he actually has to listen to us and obey us, and it will keep him (reasonably) out of trouble. And right now that's just not happening so we have to deal with it. We're not sure what the next step is right now, but we're just going to have to meander through it a bit.

Days like this bring up a lot of stuff in your mind, particularly when they coincide with a generally crappy period apart from child issues. As I mentioned, my allergy meds may have added to my misery (giving them a shot for a while to see if I adjust), and the weather going from hot and humid to cold and rainy and back didn't help. Having Craig out of commission for a couple days added to things, and so did stress relating to getting the pool open. The methods they used were desperation methods to get it all done in one day (next year we'll know how to start early) and it left us with a wet backyard. We actually had to call the former owners to figure out a couple things, and in general I'm hoping that I suddenly become a pool devotee so keeping it around is worth it. It's just one more thing to think about. So when you add in the Jacob stuff and think about where you went wrong, how you can fix it, what you'd ever do if you had to deal with another child at the same time, particularly one as difficult as Jacob can be...it's all pretty overwhelming. It makes you question a lot of things. Maybe I'll get into those in another post, but for now I'll say that I still had to remind myself this morning how ridiculously blessed we are to have a little boy who does bring us joy when he's not making us crazy, to have a lovely house (with a pool!), and all of these other "problems" in our lives. While it's frustrating to deal with it all sometimes, they're good problems to have compared to so many others. And in just a few more days, we will celebrate the two year anniversary of the day our lives changed forever. Wow.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Obsessions

Why do kids become fixated on certain things? I see it all the time with Jacob, and sure enough, thinking back on my own childhood, I did it too. I'm pretty sure we've all done it, actually, though I'd have to think that some kids (studiers, sensory kids, those who notice every little detail) probably do it more. There are just certain things kids gravitate to for no apparent reason, and it's so odd to watch from an adult's perspective. But as a kid, I know it seemed completely normal. I'm sure a shrink would have volumes to say on a lot of these fixations, but I'd have to think that a lot of it comes back to imagination and how a child-like brain sees a particular object. Or maybe something's happened that makes an object resonate like never before.

From my own experience I can think back to certain types of toys I gravitated to, or certain storylines my Barbies lived out repeatedly, or certain toys that I probably never used for their official purpose because my imagination thought they should be used in another way. I could probably dig in my memory bank and come up with tons of stories, but I'll give you two...at the risk of embarrassing myself. Example 1: We had this set of colorful clear plastic octagons that were slotted so you could interlock them and build things. But I don't think I ever built much. More often I used them in some sort of imaginary storyline where they were some sort of colorful food item or something. I would just distribute them into piles, stack them in the six sections of their box, and presumably just enjoy the colors. No clue what the draw was there, though to this day I still love brightly colored things like that. They'd make a lovely mobile or something now if I strung them up. Example 2: My dentist used to give out cheap rings after each appointment. Between those and ones that I found in the "junk boxes" at my grandma's house (from years of her four children living next door to a little grocery store with those alluring kiddie vending machines that every store has), I had quite an assortment. But the odd thing? I pried the stones out of all of them, so I just had a collection of the stones themselves. And at the time I became obsessed with the Home Shopping Network, and would often use the stones and a set of plastic chopsticks I had (from God knows where) to display and poke at the stones like they did on HSN when showing off jewelry. Again, no idea why that was something fun for me, but I turned into a relatively functional adult so I guess it didn't scar me in any way. I also had a thing for those colorful little rocks you find at science/educational stores....still do, actually ;-)

So, that said, I guess there's no telling what a child is going to be interested in or intrigued by. I can list off a whole slew of things that Jacob is bizarrely attached to. Let's see...

Anything sports - He pretty much has a hockey stick, lacrosse stick, or baseball bat in his hand at any given moment. However, there are times when he needs to have a certain one or the world will end. This morning he was determined to find a certain ball. He's also been obsessed with Craig's batting helmet that I posted a picture of the other day. I think the thing that's funniest though, is what he will turn into a hockey stick, lacrosse stick, or baseball bat. Yesterday at daycare he apparently pointed to his celery and said "baseball bat" and then pointed to a plum and decided it was a ball.

Stuffed animals - He definitely gets on stuffed animal kicks. Sometimes he nees to have a certain one in hand to get him to do anything. His crib is practically a zoo, not to mention a potential suffocation hazard, I suppose. But he just doesn't want to send any of his animals to the basket next to the crib at bedtime. He's also wanted to stockpile blankets in his crib, but I draw the line at two--one folded up like a pillow, and one blanket to cover him. One of the stuffed animal oddities lately is that he's been keeping this bear in his crib. It's a little knit/crocheted blue bear that my mom got him at the church bazaar back when he wasn't even six months old. He's checked it out a bit every now and then since then, but lately he's had that bear in his crib all the time. One night I tried putting some animals back in the basket, and he specifically asked for that one. Not that it isn't super cute, but it's just odd that all of a sudden he's totally into that one after months of indifference.

Sunglasses - After fighting us over wearing sunglasses last summer and part of this spring, Jacob now does not want to take his off. Ever. He wears them in the house and cries when we take them off, even before meals or bedtime. They do look pretty cool, but considering his track record of clumsiness, obstructed or darkened vision is probably not the best thing for him.

Elmocize - I already covered this one previously, but why is this video so darn addictive compared to regular Sesame Street or any other show on TV? Sure, the music's catchy, but so is the Elmo's World song and the little song Elmo sings at the end of Elmo's World to the tune of Jingle Bells, at the end of each Sesame Street episode. Part of me wants to let him explore the world of kids' TV a bit, but I'm afraid of a new, more annoying obsession. Craig talked about getting him some kids movies as well, but I'm just not sure I want to go there, both because he doesn't need to sit and watch TV, and because I don't need to memorize any kids movies from being on repeat play.

Turtle - Yesterday morning Jacob wandered into our room and noticed this clear plastic (lucite?) turtle that was on one of the shelves of my nightstand. It was a dollar store purchase years ago, basically a gag gift for Craig as I recall, because it's a back massager. Rub the feet up your back and it will give you chills. I actually have a non-dollar store version that's a dolphin, which lives on a shelf in the bathroom. So the turtle has sat near the bed for years, in one spot or another, just in case either of us ever feels generous and wants to give the other a backrub. Yeah, right. But Jacob found it interesting and he's been toting it around ever since. He even took it to bed with him last night. I took it back out after he fell asleep (that would be a rude awakening), but he asked for it first thing this morning. So odd.

Food - Jacob isn't much of a foodie. It's hard to get him to sit and eat a meal unless he's the right mood (which I have yet to figure out) or the food is what he wants right then and there. However, there are certain things that he constantly asks for or gets seriously excited about when he gets one. He loves pretzels. He's eaten them a lot at my parents, where there's a good, readily accessible supply. And now he knows where we keep them in one of our lower kitchen cabinets, so he's constantly digging in there to find them. Same with the Goldfish we keep there too. But he asks for pretzels by name quite often. He also asks for "beans" a lot. "Beans" are actually M&Ms or any other candy coated chocolate. He's also a big fan of Lucky Charms. Craig gave him a few of the oat pieces in the mornings when he poured his own cereal, and now Jacob loves them. And yes, he does get a few marshmallows but I try to weed them out when I can. Believe me, it was not my plan to get him into sugar cereals this early. He also loves smoothies that I make with strawberries, bananas, yougurt, milk and ice...though he usually sees me with the banana and says, "No 'nana." But he loves them anyway. He's also still a big fan of ice cream cones, with or without the ice cream. So weird.

Wearing Shoes - For some reason, just like he wants to wear his sunglasses inside, he always wants to wear shoes. He cries when we take them off, and points to them when he sees them. Not sure what the draw is, but he totally loves to wear shoes.

So, he's a bit of an oddball, but I guess if he didn't have weird obsessions, he'd be an even odder oddball! Gotta love the quirks, though :) And I'm sure there will be many, many more to come!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baseball!

We had a tough decision to make leading up to this past weekend...do we go to Toronto for a couple days, or stay home and relax? The Toronto trip idea was spawned by a lacrosse game (one featuring the Toronto Nationals, who used to be the Rochester Rattlers, as well as the Chicago Machine, which is actually a nomadic franchise this season, one that people are hoping lands permanently in Rochester next year) and some potentially useful trips to the Hockey Hall of Fame and IKEA. Craig wants to buy a bunch of those little hockey player keychains that Jacob plays with to use as future potty training bribes, and the HHOF has a ton of them. I want to go to IKEA to look at a few pieces of furniture for our house--namely a kitchen dinette and a bookshelf/cabinet. I'd even found (but not booked) a reasonably priced room at a Holiday Inn Express with free parking and breakfast. However, at the 11th hour on Friday we decided not to do it. Between my nasty cold, the thought of packing and driving to Buffalo after work, and just a long weekend in general, we decided to stay home. We figured we could to go a baseball game, maybe hit up a drive-in, and just enjoy the time at home. In the end, we only did the baseball game and tacked on a trip to Fairport Canal Days (a quaint festival across town), but it was a pleasant weekend, I guess.

We started out at the baseball game. We hadn't been to a Rochester Red Wings game since last summer, when we went to a couple, and since we can generally go for free one way or another, it's an easy night out. It was a pleasant but cool evening and we had great seats. One of the big motivators to go was that it was glove night, where the first 1,500 kids got a baseball glove. Yeah, it was just a vinyl one with sponsor logos all over it, but it's good enough for Jacob and potentially saves us a birthday present to buy ;-) He's obsessed with Craig's gloves and while this one is a little smaller, at least it's closer to fitting! Despite having gotten a glove, though, Jacob was distracted by the little girl with a pink one sitting behind us, which is what he's pointing to in the picture below. Hmmm. Don't think that will fly out on the field...
Jacob wasn't quite as entranced by baseball as he is with hockey and lacrosse, so after a few innings and some dinner (Jacob ate a hot dog, minus the bun, and lots of pretzels) we did some walking around. Here are the boys with the Red Wings-sponsored bird from an Animals on Parade thing they did here a few years back.

And here they are with a horse from the Rochester "Horses on Parade" from even longer ago. This one's made from old baseball mitts.

Eventually we headed down to the ice cream stand for dessert. Craig and Jacob shared a vanilla cone with chocolate sprinkles. Jacob is now obsessed with sprinkles after the cone he shared with me last weekend. It was getting late and Jacob was already a little past-bedtime punchy. The ice cream put Jacob into a bit of a sugar high, as well, so he was running around like a maniac in the middle of his ice cream licks. You can't see it here, but he's got ice cream all over his mouth. But the pose--mid-swing and running--sums up what he was doing for a good 15 minutes solid.

Here he is being lured by the remaining cone...


He fell asleep on the way home and didn't even wake up once we got there and changed him into his PJs. A good night as a whole.
On Saturday afternoon after Jacob's first nap (yeah, on weekends he usually takes two...no idea why. Must be the way our schedule goes. He poops out around 11am no matter when he wakes up, sleeps for an hour to an hour and a half, and then goes like crazy again until about 4 or so, when he takes another medium length nap. It's odd.), we decided to head out. First we stopped at Friendly's for free ice cream. Once in a while they have a day where everyone can get a free one-scoop cone. My favorite one was when I was pregnant and I treated myself to a full-fat Vienna Mocha Chunk cone without guilt. Fantastic. After that we headed out to Fairport Canal Days. It's a weekend fesitval in one of the more quaint towns outside Rochester. The fesitval goes up and down their Main St., across the Erie Canal, and spills over into a couple large parking lots. There's lots of food, a bunch of crafters, and some local vendors, as well. It's a pleasant walk, if nothing else. The weather was nice and we had a good time, but by the end Jacob was beat and ended up on Daddy's shoulders again (recurring theme of the weekend, if you hadn't noticed). This was the sight on the way back to the car...and as you can imagine, it was followed by a nap.

Sunday was a pretty low key day. We went to church, came home, Jacob napped for over two hours, had a late lunch, did a little running around (during which the weather finally turned from 60, rainy & windy to 70 and pleasant), and came home for a dinner of homemade chicken pot pie...which Jacob didn't each much of but which tasted pretty good! Other than that we had a little outside time--Jacob and Craig played with his basketball hoop and I gave 1/3 of our evergreens a haircut--and a couple tantrum battles in between.

It wasn't some amazingly fantastic exciting weekend, but it was a good quality weekend at home. We have a busy month ahead of us so I guess we figured we'd enjoy it while we could. We're still trying to figure out Jacob's birthday party, by the way. Our first two choices of dates were scooped up by other family events, and we're just not sure what to do now. Do a 4th of July weekend party for both families at our house? Do separate parties in Buffalo for each side of the family whenever we can schedule them? Go up against one of the other parties and just deal? No idea. I guess it was bad planning, procrastination, and bad assumptions on our part, coupled with some bad luck and busy schedules that were out of our control. I will never again assume that the weekend of Jacob's birthday will be avoided by all others for their own parties. Lesson learned. We'll definitely have cake and gifts on his actual birthday, so I know he won't miss out on the birthday experience, but we probably should have a real party just because it seems wrong not to. We want to see family, show off the house, and give Jacob the celebration he deserves. It just may not be in close proximity to his real birthday. Oh, to live close to family and be able to pick a random evening, even on a weekday...arg. And yes, we do still have to work around our nephew's allergies in planning for the party, so I really must get on the ball and start planning menus and a cake theme now. Way too much to think about!

And on that note, I'm off to go stress...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Working Out

As I mentioned recently, I've been diagnosed with elevated cholesterol. I actually still don't know how elevated it is since I found out via a message from my doctor's office and I never took the time to call back. I wasn't particularly shocked by this revelation, considering a long family history of heart attacks and two parents on cholesterol meds, but I suppose I was hoping to avoid this diagnosis this early. I'll admit that my eating habits aren't stellar, but compared to the average person, I think they're actually pretty good. A quick scan of my kitchen produced very few products with more than a few milligrams of cholesterol, and I rarely see anything with more than 1.5 grams of saturated fat. Now, we do eat out from time to time, maybe 3-4 times per week depending on the week. And I know I could make healthier choices when we do, but really, if I'm going to go out to eat and pay that much, I'd prefer to eat what I want, within reason. And it's not like I have dinner out every night, so a couple not-so-healthy meals per week really doesn't scare me. But if push came to shove, yes, I could get steamed broccoli and grilled chicken instead of the burger and fries. My issue at this point is that I don't think that cutting that stuff out is going to make that big of a difference since in general my diet isn't that horrible. There just isn't that much there to overhaul. I could be wrong, but I just feel like I'm destined to end up on Lipitor at some point anyway, because, let's face it, a life without french fries just doesn't sound that appealing.

One of the other things I can do to lower it is work out more. I currently work out once per week on Thursday evenings. I go to an Instructor's Challenge class that is taught by a rotating set of instructors. No two classes are ever the same, and I like that. They usually follow a similar form, but not always. It's generally a few sets of strength training exercises interspersed with cardio. Sometimes the weight training is a series of different moves, and sometimes we have a circuit that we rotate all the way through. Cardio might be running the endless stairs in the building, grabbing a cardio machine, or running outside. I like the variety and it's definitely enhanced my fitness a bit. Unfortunately, unlike my old class I don't think this one will be as flexible when pregnancy #2 comes along. But for now it's been really helpful. It's even gotten me on a bit of a running kick, which I have never done. I still don't particularly like running, but I do get a better sense of the power and potential within my body when I run. Last year at this time I completed the Chase Corporate Challenge, a 3.5 mile race. I'd never run that long before, and it was pretty impressive considering the whole race was in a torrential downpour and I was probably carrying around about 10 pounds of water in my clothes. This year's race was last night, but my company didn't participate. I decided to run the 3.5 miles anyway, just to make sure I could still do it, and so last night I hopped on the treadmill and did it. It was hard, but it felt great to finish.

Even before the cholesterol diagnosis, my doctor had suggested I work out more. Before Jacob I tried to work out 2-3 times per week. The summer before I got pregnant, I also bought a bike, so even if I didn't hit the gym, I could always take a nice bike ride. But I haven't ridden my bike at all since that summer, because the next year I was pregnant and since Jacob was born I just haven't felt like I've had the time to do it. I'm sure I'm wrong and I'm just not utilizing my time well. I often think about how easy it should be to take a run or a ride, but it's just not. Time on the bike is time away from Jacob. Our weekend afternoons are usually busy anyway, even with naps (which I often like to participate in myself), and evenings are tough because we're usually rushing from dinner to the little bit of playtime I have with Jacob each day to bedtime...and by then it's dark out and less safe for riding. Perhaps I should be more selfish and take the time, but my time with him is so limited as it is. Oh, and in case you're thinking I should just take a walk with Jacob, that's generally a tough prospect in the evenings because he inevitably falls asleep and it makes for a much more complicated bedtime if he falls asleep too early. But it's not impossible, just awkward.

One thought I had was to get a baby seat for my bike. I rode around in one on my mom's bike when I was little and I remember enjoying it. The back-mounted ones like that make me nervous, though, for many reasons. I can see it seriously throwing my balance off, and I don't like that I can't see behind me. Trailers make me nervous for that reason as well, and probably even more because Jacob would be that much farther away from me in general. If I got one, it would probably be a front-mounted one. I think I'm short enough that it wouldn't bother my legs, but I think I'd still be able to see over it ok. I'd also feel like I might have the ability to shield Jacob somehow in the event of a crash. Wishful thinking, perhaps, but it would still be easier than it he was behind me. I'd need to get a helmet for Jacob (and yeah, probably me too one of these days), but baby helmets are tough to find. Standard ones in stores are for 3+, so it would most likely be a slightly pricey online purchase. But the whole thing just scares me. Granted, in all the years that I've ridden a bike, I've never had a major accident. A couple minor falls, perhaps, but nothing that gave me anything more than a few scrapes....and not in a very long time. So why would accidents start now? But still, if anything ever happened to Jacob while he was on my bike, I'd never forgive myself. There are a lot of sobering statistics about injuries to kids on bike seats, but I'd have to think that most of those are helmetless and in the typical back-mounted version that throws off your balance more than the front-mounted ones. But still, it's scary. But I do think it would get me out and about more, and I think Jacob would like it too. But is it worth the risk? Or should I just forego time with him and force myself to get on my bike solo or head off to the gym an additional day? On the bright side, Craig's schedule eases up considerably during the summer, so if there's any time it's possible, it's now.

I'd like to get in better shape. Running is empowering, and there's always a nice rush from a good workout, regardless of the type. I'd like to think that taking care of an active toddler and keeping a household up and running is enough activity, but based on what I see in the mirror, it's not. But there's always the lure of that adorable little boy...and when he's not around, dozens of things on a mental to-do list readily take his place. The never-ending battle of motherhood--arranging priorities so nothing suffers...