Friday, September 30, 2011

At least he's consistent...

Well, if there's one thing Jacob is good at, it's finding ways to ruin much-hyped activities.  From our mini golf experience to our summer vacation, the higher the expectations, the more frustrating he tends to be.  Whether that is more about him or just our disappointment talking, I'm not sure.  But it makes it hard to make plans for something fun when you have an inkling that he's going to choose that exact moment to be difficult.  On one hand, what's the point of doing fun things?  On the other hand, he's going to have to learn how to be cooperative at some point so we might as well attempt things when opportunities arise and hope for the best.

Tonight we decided to take Jacob to his first movie theater experience.  He's done the drive-in a couple times before with mixed results, but the last time was over a year ago.  Craig is a big movie person and he's been practically begging to take Jacob for months.  I wanted to be there for his first time and I refused to go when the weather was beautiful, since we have a long winter of cold, crappy weather ahead of us that needs to be filled by inside activities. 

Tonight the weather was crappy and Cars 2 was up at the cheap theater.  I'm not sure if Jacob has ever seen all of the first one (I've only seen bits and pieces), but it's more about the experience than the movie at this age.  We had to pick up McDonald's and eat on the way to make it in time, but we finally did.  He was pretty good for the first half of the movie.  He ate his popcorn (his favorite) and talked a bit, but there were a lot of kids so he fit right in.  He was a little fidgety but it was tolerable.  Then suddenly halfway through the movie he just got frustrating.  He had to go potty once, but then he was moving around in his seat, sitting on our laps momentarily, taking off his shoes and socks, turning around in his seat, and headbutting the seat.  It got to be very distracting and really annoying.  Luckily, I don't think he was particularly distracting to anyone else, and his behavior was probably pretty age-appropriate overall, but it was frustrating nonetheless. 

Why he doesn't understand that his behavior means we won't be back for a while, I'm not sure.  Apparently he can't help himself, but you'd think one of these times when he misbehaves he'll remember that it comes with consequences.  It wasn't intolerable, but it just makes me wonder (again) why we bother doing fun things.  On the bright side, the movie was cute.  And at the beginning of it, Jacob seemed to really like it.  The Toy Story short at the beginning was actually pretty awesome, and he had this big grin on his face for that.  If only that utter joy could have stayed the whole time. 

So, long story short, another "first" in the books.  One of these days it will go well and his excitement won't be tarnished by his stubborn dark side.  Someday. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Just the beginning...

As I mentioned on Friday, Jacob got his first real sports equipment upon Craig's arrival home.  He got a real lacrosse stick, a helmet, and the most ridiculously adorable tiny gloves.  Of course, he loves the stuff. 

He loves it enough that I've decided to use it as a bribe to get him potty trained.  He's been having a ton of accidents recently and I'm starting to think he just doesn't care.  So...if he stays dry, he can play with his stuff.  If not, it stays put away.  I've known people who have used items like that--our friend used her son's goalie mask, and my roommate's parents used a special Thundercats sword for her brother.  Worth a shot, anyway.  He may still not be quite ready physically, but we'll judge it as we go along.

Case in point, our trip to the library on Saturday.  Craig went to Buffalo to spend a day with his family, so Jacob and I spent the day together.  When he woke up from his nap, we headed out to a new library near us.  There was a book there I was dying to read, and I figured it would be nice to get some new variety in Jacob's bedtime book rotation.  We got there and Jacob amused himself on this cool computer thing (embedded in a Little Tikes desk!) while I browsed the picture book shelves for books for him.  I found six great ones rather quickly, and then Jacob and I sat down to put together some of the cool puzzles they had.  In the middle of it I noticed that he was doing a bit of a "stutter step" but when I asked him if he had to go, he said no.  Not 10 seconds later, he was like, "Mommy, I peed."  We ran across the library to the bathroom and it was a really good thing I had spare undies in my purse.  I changed him (luckily the shorts survived thanks to the plastic pants), and we checked out quick before heading off to a sorely-needed haircut for him and a couple more quick stops after that.  On the second stop he said that he had to go again, so we ran down the plaza to Wegmans.  He had had a bit of an accident again, but at that point it was either a pull-up or damp undies.  He didn't seem phased so for the five more minutes we had to be out, undies it was.  Bad, I know.  I figured maybe it would convince him that he didn't want to feel like that, but I'm a little worried he's just getting used to it now.  I guess this is the dark side of having a baby that didn't freak out despite a wet diaper.  And here I thought we caught a break with that one.  Darn.

Sunday Jacob and Craig headed out to a lacrosse camp at a local country club.  The Knighthawks put it on and although the kids were older than Jacob, Craig was encouraged to bring him.  So, off they went, which was great because it gave me a little free time--I finished up a ton of yard work and then did some running around to finish off my "Mom bag" purchase.  I decided I needed a new wallet because my old one was just too small but my purse was never big enough for a bigger one.  It took a few tries to find one I really liked that worked, but I'm happy with my purchase and it was nice to have the time to get it done.  Meanwhile...

He's looking in a ball collector thing on the driving range where the clinic was held

As usual with most much-hyped activities, Jacob had some rather frustrating moments.  He freaked out about little stuff, but he got through it.  He even happened to repeat something he learned at the clinic at one point in the last couple days.  It was a small step, but perhaps the first one in a long line of sporting endeavors.  

We were hoping to take step two in signing him up for tee-ball for next summer, but it appears he turns four a couple months too late.  There are other non-league programs we can try to do instead, but it's a bit of a shame as he's probably every bit as good as kids much older than him.  He could probably use some "teamwork" training as much as anything, so hopefully we can find a good setup for that next summer.  I must say I'm a bit relieved to have a year's reprieve on the hardcore little league stuff, particularly because I'm still hoping to be in new baby mode by then and that might have been a crazy schedule to keep.  No guarantees, of course, but it crossed my mind.

It truly is just the beginning, though...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Photo Friday

To lighten the mood a bit after my post yesterday, I figured I'd share a few random pictures from the last week. 

Here's Jacob at the birthday party we went to on Sunday...
Superstar in the making?  Or the next Elton John?

While the other kids were doing bubbles, Jacob was insisting on playing football in the house.  While the other kids were playing games, Jacob finally discovered the bubbles.  Here he is with one of those huge bubble wands.  I love seeing genuine joy on his face instead of his oh-so-frustrating cheese face...
He insisted on layering his Oregon State jersey (Christmas gift from the Portland contingent!) over his Bills track suit.  It was way too warm for that, but whatever...

Last night when I went in to check on Jacob, this is what I found:
Out cold!

He always has quite a menagerie in there with him, and I try to build them up along the sides so he still has sleeping room and won't fall out.  But apparently last night he piled them up at one end and decided they made a good pillow.  I took this picture in the dark and I don't think he even flinched.

This morning he got up and changed out of one pair of pajamas into another pair of pajamas...because today was pajama day at daycare.  He'd been begging to wear his new Batman jammies all week (got them on the trip to Delaware), but I kept telling him that I knew he'd be begging to wear them Friday, so he couldn't wear them ahead--too much risk of peeing on them in the middle of the night (yes, even with a diaper).  Finally, Friday morning arrived and on they went:
Have I mentioned that Jacob wants to be referred to as Batman now?  Yep, he's going through that phase.  He's really into the Imaginext Batman toys at daycare, and he got to watch some old Batman movies on that Delaware trip.  Craig is doing his part to encourage the interest, as well.  Not sure how I feel about that, but so far it's manageable.  He's been saying funny things lately as know, like stuff about going to the Batcave and riding in the Batcopter and stuff.  Silly boy.

In other news, Jacob's cut on his face is healing nicely.  We have an appointment with his dermatologist Monday (general follow-up from his mole removal) and I'm going to ask if we should use any sort of scar cream (Mederma) to help it along even more.  It may heal fine on its own, but I'm not sure if I want to take that chance.  I also need to ask her thoughts on tiny freckle-ish moles that he's developed in the past six months or so.  They're not nearly as menacing as the one he had removed, so I'm pretty sure they're harmless and natural (I have a ton), but if she has any indication that they might grow and/or become an issue, I'm wondering if they're still small enough to remove quickly and generally painlessly in her office (though a squirmy child could again be an issue) before they get to be big enough to leave a major scar or cause further trouble.  I worry more about the ones on his face, mostly because I've always been self-conscious of the one between my mouth and nose and would like to spare Jacob any potential angst.  We shall see.

Potty training has been a bit of a hit-or-miss proposition, and I'm not referring to his ability to stand and pee (though that is coming along a bit--though not at our house yet).  Some days he's perfect, some days he dribbles, and some days (like yesterday) he has a pretty hardcore accident that not even his plastic pants can contain.  I know you're not supposed to freak out when stuff like that happens, but I did.  It's hard not to when your fully capable child puts off going, then stands at the top of your carpeted stairs and pees, rather than using that valuable time to at least make a run for the potty.  The carpet didn't suffer much damage this time, but still, it's frustrating.  And yet...this morning one of Jacob's buddies (who finally joined him in the three-year-old room this week) and his mom walked in with a big box of diapers and I came to the realization that we're not doing too badly if I only have to send in a handful of pull-ups (one per day for use at naptime) and I'm only buying diapers once in a great while.  We use one at bedtime, one at naptime on weekends, and maybe a couple more in the event that we need to go somewhere involving no bathrooms or lengthy travel.  Not bad.  But still, it would be nice to be done.

Other than that, not much to report.  Jacob is going to his first lacrosse camp (with Craig) on Sunday, so that should be interesting.  Craig came home with Jacob's first real equipment--gloves, helmet, real(ish) stick--and I'm trying not to ask what it cost.  That stuff is going to be the least of our worries for the next 15-18 years.  It's not like he's going to get sick of lacrosse since he's already been into it for so long, but I just have to brace myself for the beginning of the onslaught of sports.  It's coming.  Tee ball registration is in a few weeks, after all.  Ugh.

Off to bed now...the weekend awaits...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Then and Now

It's been a while since I last covered this topic in depth, but in case you were wondering, Project Baby #2 is still a go...but it's still pretty much stuck in the mud.  Again.  I'm coming to understand that my body apparently doesn't like being off birth control, but as much as things are the same as last time, some things are just a bit different...

Then: I ended birth control with little regard for how long it might take to get on track.
Now: I ended birth control with what I carefully calculated to be plenty of time to get back on track...and yet, here I am facing a bit of a time crunch.  Originally I wanted to aim for an earlier due date than last time, but now, even if we get pregnant on the first "real" attempt (assuming things ever get straightened out--see below), we'll probably be on about the same schedule. 
Both times: Apparently God's timing wins out over everything else.

Then: I waited five weeks for my first cycle after getting off birth control, then never got another period before getting pregnant out of the blue.
Now: I waited over six weeks for my first cycle...and seven weeks after that I'm still waiting for my second.  I've tried ovulation predictors here and there, but if I were to try to do them every day in the supposed middle of my cycle, I might go broke just buying those.
Both Times: I'm getting really sick of waiting for it to show up, if only just for practicality purposes of planning my wardrobe around appropriate underwear/preventative measures.

Then: I obsessed over the whole process constantly.  It ran through my mind all the time and constantly made me just a little crazier.  I have a feeling that stress might have been contributing to our problems.  Eventually the process went on for so long that I couldn't think about it all the time, and once I eased up, it just happened...coincidence or not.
Now: It runs through my head mostly when I go to the bathroom and see, yet again, that nothing's happening.  I'm not really stressing out this time, but it is getting a little annoying.
Both Times: The waiting game is a tough one.  It's extra hard not knowing what's happening when, and trying to decide when it makes sense to do an ovulation test or even a pregnancy test, just to get some idea of what might be happening. 

Then: I had no idea what the problem was.  Was my cycle messed up?  Was I infertile?  Did I have another health problem?  Were we just not trying at the right times?  At the same time, any diversion from my body's usual behavior was a surefire sign of pregnancy...which then turned into a surefire health issue once a pregnancy test came back negative.  When I finally did get pregnant and didn't know it, I was so tired.  I had pretty much given up hope of getting pregnant and was so confused when the ovulation-stimulating drug I took didn't seem to work.  I was ready to call my regular doctor to see why I was so tired, but decided to take a pregnancy test just to rule it out beforehand.  Sure enough, positive. 
Now: I've had a couple pieces of circumstantial evidence, but for the most part I've kept a much more level head this time around.  I'm more likely to blame it on a more realistic reason.  If I do blame anything on a potential pregnancy, I'm well aware that it's probably more wishful thinking than anything.
Both Times: Random body oddities still sometimes get me wondering.  If I'm extra tired, feel a little crampy twinge, or notice something really off, I can't help but wonder if it's pregnancy hormones.  Lately I've been losing hair like crazy, which I've mostly decided is post-birth control hormone regulation, much like women lose hair a couple months after birth due to hormones.  Regardless, both times it's been just one big question mark.

Long story short, I find it interesting that we're going through this same waiting game again.  It's easier this time, I think, since I know it had happy ending last time.  We have Jacob, and if that's all we're meant to have, that's not the worst thing in the world.  It would be sad, but not the end of the world. 

But it's frustrating and I find myself wondering at what point I call the doctor.  They'll probably want blood work, and if all is normal, they'll probably order up the same stuff I had last time--the drug meant to induce ovulation that I ended up not even needing.  Part of me feels like that's cheating, but on the other side of the coin, I hate having to wonder for weeks on end when my period is coming.  That alone is annoying, let alone the whole pregnancy aspect.  I keep telling myself that it will happen when the time is right, so I'm trying to remain level-headed about the whole thing.  What's the fun of going through this process if it isn't a bit of a journey?  I hope it's a nice pleasant journey, not too long and with a lovely destination...but a bit of an adventure nonetheless.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Day

As I mentioned in my last post, Jacob and I had a good day on Saturday.  Most of the day was pretty low key, but there was still a distinct lack of yelling and threatening.  I'm sure it happened, but it wasn't how we spent the vast majority of our time, so that was noticeably nicer.  Craig had a bachelor party to go to--fairly tame, and only from 4pm to 7pm--and since we've been trying to get to the zoo and Jacob really wanted to go, he and I headed out there even though we only had a little more than an hour to spend there.  Thankfully it's a small zoo :)

As always, we had fun.  Some days certain animals are more active, some days others are.  Saturday happened to be the day that one of the polar bears was highly entertaining.  Yes, maybe he was just hanging around with a big plastic barrel, but he was so close and so cool to watch with his BIG paws...

The sea lions were also swimming furiously, which was fun to watch, and we got a rare glimpse of an otter, one of our favorites.  Jacob also got to check out the new fossil dig feature, which I think is just a small example of something that's going into the new lion exhibit that's under construction.  He had fun "digging" through the gravel.
Since the zoo was pretty much deserted by the end (we got there 15 minutes before the gates closed, leaving us just over an hour to walk around), I let Jacob crawl into the tunnel to the special viewing area of the cougar.  I figured that if he refused to come out, I could crawl in there with little embarrassment risk to retrieve him.
The tunnels go to this observation area right in the middle of the cougar exhibit.  It's pretty cool, but the tunnels aren't particularly parent-friendly.
Another thing he got to do that we normally don't do is play on the playground.  I'm not sure why we don't--maybe because we always get there late and are rushing through the animals, or maybe it's because the play areas are usually so busy, or because he's hated playgrounds up until now--but considering his new-found enjoyment of slides and the fact that they were empty when we came back through with a few minutes to spare, I let him play.  He went down the slide a couple times and crawled through this tunnel...

On the way out we walked past the rhinos and I happened to notice something funny:
Hint: Check out the rhino's butt
There was what looks like a tranquilizer dart in the rhino's butt!  I understand that they probably need to do that sometimes to do testing or whatever, but holy cow, can't they wait the extra five minutes until everyone is out of the zoo?!  It was just a little weird seeing that.  Maybe it was just me, but the rhino already looked a little drugged when I saw his face.  Oh, and right after that as we were looking at the meerkats as we passed back through the monkey house, there was a kid (an astute 8 or 9 year old) who mentioned he noticed it too!  Eeesh.

After the zoo, we headed out for a quick dinner and a little shopping.  Jacob ate his food very well, which is a rarity when we go out.  I even introduced him to one of the joys of fast food--Taco Bell Cinnamon Twists.  He also did pretty well when we were shopping, despite the fact that I was unable to find a stroller cart at Kohl's.  He did have a freak-out when we were in the changing room trying on pants because he really wanted one pair of pants that I initially only saw in a size bigger.  We didn't get those so he was freaking out, and he was generally uncooperative while trying on other types of pants because he only wanted that pair.  In the end I did find the ones he wanted in his size and all was right with the world.

As a whole, he was a really good boy all day.  Did he have moments?  Of course he did...he's three.  But they didn't take over our whole day or outshine the fun we had.  I don't know how much of that is a result of a well-rested mommy or the choice of activities or any other perspective-changers, but as a whole the entire day seemed like so much less of a battle than usual.  And man, was that ever nice.  A day like that allows you to fall back in love with your child and enjoy them so much more over the long term.  No, you never stop loving your child, but there's a point where the difficulties start to outweigh the joy.  Everything they do seems inherently adversarial, and it's tough to appreciate even the good moments.  They find ways to ruin even the most foolproof fun activity and leave you wondering why you even try.
Still, as a whole it was a pretty successful weekend.  Back to the grind, unfortunately...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

News & Notes

There's probably a bunch of stuff I've neglected to mention while I've been talking about my solo weekend, September 11th, and the change of here goes...

- Jacob had his (belated) two-year well visit back in late August, and he clocked in at 33.4 pounds and 38-1/2 inches tall.  He's right around the 50th percentile on both counts.  His weight has ticked up steadily but he's still pretty skinny.  But wow, has he gotten taller.  I tried on the last handful of pants from what he was wearing last spring, and holy cow were they short.  Like, an inch above his ankle.  And that's without the extra bulk of a diaper.  Between hand-me-downs, sale purchases a while back, and a few purchases today, I think we'll be ok on pants as long as I can match shirts to the potty-friendly windpants and sweatpants.  Jeans are usually my default because they look cool with anything.  We'll see.

- Potty training is still so-so.  We're not even close on nighttime, and even naps are a stretch, but during the day we're doing okay.  Not great, but okay.  Most of the time he comes home dry, but once in a while we'll have a bag of wet undies.  It's rare to have a hardcore accident, but wet spots on the front of his undies are pretty common.  He catches himself, but sometimes not soon enough.  Fortunately we're still utilizing the plastic pants, so the wet spot doesn't mean the pants are done...but at least he feels the wetness.  We try to keep him going potty when we can, and if we do, he's fine.  It's when he gets caught up in playing that it doesn't go well.  Oh, and we have the challenge of ill-timed pottying--dinnertime, after bedtime, etc.  One of these days...

-  Last Saturday we went mini-golfing at our local course for the second time this summer.  We had a lot of fun, and once again Jacob had a couple holes in one and beat us on a couple holes.  He had one hole in one that I sort of missed (I'm obsessed with taking pictures of cool flowers, what can I say?), but it was apparently an amazing shot...over one obstacle, banked off the back of the metal boundary, and into a hole on a slope.  Awesome.  He did well, and we even had a couple that got us $5 worth of tokens in the arcade, so that was fun, too.  It got a little dark to take great pictures, but I like this one...
As you can see, we have extra obstacles to deal with!
- Friday morning we went to Jacob's first dentist appointment.  I tried to psyche him up for it by explaining that he had to open his mouth wide and sit in a cool chair.  When we got there he wasn't too sure about the chair.  He quietly refused to get into it, so I had to get into it and let him sit on me.  Unfortunately, that meant I couldn't take a picture of him.  Boo.  After that, he did great.  He talked to the dentist, opened wide, and laid still.  He did great through the whole thing, even the tooth polishing, which I thought might have freaked him out...not just because of the noise the tool makes, but also because they use the water squirter and saliva sucker to rinse, instead of having him rinse and spit.  He did great....until they whipped out his new toothbrush to brush on the fluoride (in the form of foam).  He absolutely refused to sit still or open his mouth, and ended up screaming bloody murder for about 20 seconds.  Ugh.  He had a hard time picking out a prize (we ended up with a superball--shocker) and wouldn't stand still for a post-visit picture with his goodie bag.  This was the best I got:
He wouldn't stand in front of the dentist sign. 
He got a clean bill of health, though, and the freebie toothbrushes are much better nowadays than they were in my day.  His has a clear handle with fish in it!

- We're still having a hard time with Jacob's defiance.  He is constantly distracted, constantly saying "no", constantly doing whatever it is that he shouldn't.  He's still not getting that when you finish going to the bathroom, the next steps should always be to pull up your pants and wash your hands.  Nor does he put his pants on the right way...ever.  Backwards every time, no matter how many hundreds of times we go over it.  However...amidst all of the defiance, I know there's a good kid in there evidenced by a day like today, which I'll blog more about soon.  I know he's not going to be a perfect angel, but days like today totally confirm that there's a difference between normal frustrating behavior and infuriating behavior.  And luckily we got the normal stuff today, totally manageable enough to let the fun shine through.  And a lot of times there just isn't enough fun because his behavior makes it impossible.  But today was good.  Even the non-fun stuff was good, and it reminds me that it is possible to enjoy spending time with my child.  No, I shouldn't need a reminder, but sometimes I do.  It's that hard some days.  I always love him, but it's hard to willingly put yourself in the position to be yelling constantly.  Still, good to know it can be good.  It gives me hope.

Have a nice weekend, everyone...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Downfall of Fall

Well, despite every effort to prevent it, it appears fall is once again on its way.  It's not that I don't like fall--on the contrary, I do--but it's more the disappearance of summer and the coming appearance of winter that I don't like.  So, basically, fall suffers because I like summer and dislike winter.  But fall itself is kind of fun.  I like fall decorations and the gorgeous colors of the leaves.  I like doing the pumpkin patch thing and eating pumpkin baked goods.  I love apples and apple cider, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are pretty great, too.  And weather like we've had the past week has been sky and sun, comfortable, non-humid it.  Jeans-and-flip-flops weather is one of my favorites.  And I must admit, Jacob looks pretty darn cute in his new pairs of jeans.

But today's 50 degree temps were a bit of a rude awakening.  And while this current round of cool weather isn't supposed to stick around, it was a bit of a bummer nonetheless.  I had to pull out a longer sleeved shirt and wear shoes that aren't sandals (though no socks still...whew).  We actually had to wear jackets this morning.  To be honest, the weather didn't feel as bad as I expected considering we had 80 degree temps a couple days ago, but still...I like the unencumbered nature of summer, with no jackets, minimal layering, and full access to my pretty painted toenails.  I like knowing every morning that I can dress Jacob in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts and not have to worry about the weather.  I dread the day we actually have to worry about boots and hats and mittens again. 

The change in seasons means that I have to start transitioning over two closets--mine and Jacob's--and try on all of Jacob's old winter clothes to see what fits (and be sad when I see how much he's grown...and outgrown).  I also have to find a decent way to store all of his summer clothes, because I tend to not officially pack things away unless I know they won't fit him in another year.  Most of them get shelved in his closet until next spring when we have to do the process all over again.  One of my favorite things about summer is that Jacob can generally wear his clothes a little longer.  Yes, eventually his belly starts peeking out the bottom and the shorts get a little shorter, but it takes considerably longer to notice than it does with long sleeves and long pants.  And with a kid who apparently has long arms and long legs (or maybe just fast-growing legs), it's nice to have a little buffer before we have to overhaul his wardrobe.  His waist is tiny, so while shorts can last for years, some pants get too short before the waist really ever fits him.  Thank goodness for adjustable waistbands!

One of the things that's been bugging me most lately is the early sunset.  It usually bums me out quite a bit (at least until I'm at work viewing fabulous sunsets from the 16th floor), but this year it's extra annoying.  For one, Jacob hardly gets to play outside anymore.  If Craig's busy after work, Jacob and I usually rush home and right into dinner, and by the time dinner's over it's already dark.  It's hard to break the news to him that it's too dark to go out after dinner anymore, and even worse to think that his baseball playing will soon be on hold for months once the weather gets too cold.  And personally, I'm not looking forward to amusing a little boy who will certainly have cabin fever by November.  I hate not having evenings to get a little extra yard work done, and inevitably once the darkness sets in, I tend to go into hibernation mode.  When it's light in the evenings I'm eager to go out and be active--be it a bike ride or a trip to the gym, playing outside with Jacob or even going to the grocery store.  But when the darkness sets in so early, I have a hard time getting motivated...and right now, that's the last thing I need. 

There's a certain cozy comfort that comes with fall, but I'm a little sad to wave goodbye to summer because I feel like there was still so much more we should have done.  I know I will get over it and find other ways to spend our time, but even though September (and even October) can be lovely months, there's still a bit of resentment at what we're giving up.  I just need to remember the fun we always have in fall, maybe browse our old pictures and plan some activities, and hopefully I'll settle in for another ride through the cold weather and the holiday season.  And with a little luck, hopefully we'll eventually have something to get truly excited about this winter...if (once again) my body ever figures out what the heck it's doing.  Here we go again...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The joys of a clear mind and a clear schedule

I did a lot of shopping while the boys were gone, and pretty much all of it was for me.  I looked at stuff for Jacob, but I'm not gonna lie, the vast majority of my time was spent bouncing from clearance rack to clearance rack looking for things for me.  My closet may look full, but it's getting to the point where a lot of what's in there doesn't fit quite right.  My post-pregnancy belly never went away entirely and all the bulk I lost while breastfeeding came back...and then some.  Despite a fairly consistent twice-a-week workout schedule that has, at various times, included a lot of running, some of my clothes are a little snug around the belly area.  Nothing a good pair of Spanx wouldn't fix (hence why they haven't been donated yet), but it's somewhat limiting.  In addition, I have a handful of older items that were purchased before the longer-shirt trend that we have going on now, and between general shrinkage and changing styles, a lot of those shirts are just too short for what I think looks good on me now.  I really need to do a major cleanout, but in the meantime I'm managing. 

I did find a handful of items during that weekend--a dress, a couple skirts, a shirt, a shrug (short sweater to wear with a dress I've had), and a bathing suit (!)--all on clearance, and they've been a nice addition to my wardrobe.  I'm trying to buy things with the mindset that I'm probably only going to get bigger, thanks to both a future pregnancy (no, nothing yet) and the inevitable decrease in metabolism that comes with age.  I'm not expecting to balloon, mind you, but despite my workouts I still see a gradual creep, if not on the scale then definitely in how things fit.  It's not ideal but I'm trying to come to terms with that and enjoy the body I have right now.  I have a feeling that once I do clear out the other stuff, it will improve my mental state considerably because I won't have so much guilt about not wearing things or frustration that things don't fit me anymore.  Maybe it'll make my mornings a happier place to be.

Another thing I did while the boys were gone was reorganize my jewelry.  I don't have much, and most of it isn't that special.  I have my wedding ring, of course, and a set of pearls that was Craig's wedding gift to me.  Most of the rest is your typical department store variety or worse.  I have a jewely box with a few drawers, one with old rings I never wear, and two others mostly filled with old watches, really cheap jewelry, or broken stuff.  Another drawer holds some of my fancier jewelry, like the jewelry I wore for my wedding, high school winter dance, and my friend's wedding.  But all my earrings were in a separate little silver box, and all my necklaces were tangled up on the rotating hooks inside the jewelry box.  Every morning I had to fish out earrings and untangle necklaces, and while it didn't usually take much time, it was annoying.  So, in another effort to improve my mornings, I made a mental note to ponder other ways to store my jewelry.

When my grandmother recently passed away, I spent some time going through all her jewelry and picking out a handful of pieces that I liked.  I don't think any of it is quite jewelry store quality, but they're nice pieces and they fit my style well.  I like having jewelry that reminds me of her better days, when she was always wearing a pretty necklace and pair of earrings.  However, adding those pieces clogged up my jewelry storage even more.  I pondered taking a cue from my grandma's organizational bag of tricks and use ice cube trays.  She had a few stacks of them in addition to her jewelry boxes, and it made sense.  They stack, everything's easy to see, and they're cheap.  I hadn't gotten around to looking for my unused ones (we have an automatic ice dispenser now), and I didn't really feel like going to the dollar store and buying new ones if I already had others around. 

In the meantime, I had this glorious weekend of alone time.  It allowed me to focus better while shopping, since I wasn't dragging Jacob along and I wasn't worrying about getting home quickly to relieve Craig from hour after hour of Jacob's sporting endeavors on the front lawn.  I could browse carefully, think about the clothes I was trying on, search high and low for my Mom bag, and ponder a little more clearly if the item I was looking at might be of good use.  It was really nice. 

On the same shopping trip to Target in which I bought my Mom bag, I wandered through the dollar section.  I found a couple short but sweet Berenstain Bears books for Jacob (one about amusement parks, one about cleaning up toys--both with an ulterior motive!) and then I came across some really cute but unorthodox ice cube trays.  The holes were round, about an inch in diameter.  The trays were clear plastic with either red or black accents on the handles and in the bottom of the holes.  There were 21 holes per tray.  On the spot it hit me that it would be perfect for jewelry.  I snapped one up and figured that for a buck I'd either make it work or find another use for it.

I took it home and separated all of my earrings into individual holes.  I left out my simple stud-type earrings, but found a perfect space for the rest.  Awesome!  Of course, the next time I went to grab a necklace I realized my necklaces were probably more of a problem...but I liked the earring storage too much to switch them out.  So...I counted my necklaces and made one more trip to Target, where I was lucky enough to snag the last two they had!  I figured my necklaces would fit in one and I'd get another for future overflow.

Here's the finished product:
Earrings in the red one on the top of the dresser, and necklaces in the black one still in the drawer
They stack nicely in my drawer, and it works perfectly each morning.  Even better, the bottoms of the cube holes are soft and rubbery, so they won't scratch my wood dresser. My other earrings are back in the silver box, and are now easier to sort through, and any necklaces that didn't fit in those tight spaces now fit nicely in the hanging section of the jewelry box.  It all may be a small, insignificant reorganization project, but it makes me happy every time I pull out or put away my jewelry. 

It's a simple thing and it's not like I couldn't have done it when Jacob was around, but having a clear mind and a lot of time on my hands made it so much easier to manage.  I was able to think about things and even figured out some personality quirks during that time, and it was pleasant to have the time and brainpower to think things through.  It's a luxury when you're a mom, and I'm happy I had the chance, even for something as simple as utilizing ice cube trays for storage. :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Telling the Tale

I blogged about this a couple years ago, but with the 10th anniversary of September 11th, I guess it's a good time to revisit the topic.  It boggles my mind that it was 10 years ago that I watched the towers crumble from the Amerks' locker room and sat at my desk following the crash in Shanksville, PA, convinced that it might never end.  No, there weren't any more plane crashes that day, but the more I watch the anniversary footage, the more I see that it doesn't really end.  For the people who lost loved ones and friends, for the people who saw things beyond their wildest imagination, for those who suffer health effects from digging through the rubble...their pain may never end.  When I think about how many people died in the wars our country has participated in, it strikes me how many stories never got written, how many children were never born, how many young people never got to experience adulthood.  The victims of September 11th are much the same--smaller in number, but so many lives snuffed out in their prime.  Kids who never got to meet their parents, couples that never got to have children, parents who lost sons and daughters, people that never got to grow old together. 

We've been watching memorial footage most of the day (other than the Bills' opener--one bright spot in an otherwise rough day of viewing), and watching some of the documentary-style footage it still makes my heart beat fast and reminds me all too well of the chaos and absolute horror of that day.  You can't take your eyes off it.  And yes, we could just shut the TV off, but that doesn't change the fact that it happened and all the people listed above can't escape that it happened.  Still, I can't decide if watching it is cathartic or further torture.  If nothing else, I guess it's just how we spend this anniversary each year...though today being a weekend made it that much easier to get a much larger dose than usual. 

Jacob was in the room for some of the footage--both of the memorial services and some of the documentaries.  He asked a lot of questions and we tried to answer them as simply as possible.  You know, references to "bad people", "buildings fell down", etc.  Maybe we shouldn't have allowed it, but let's face it...he'll have to find out about this at some point, and I'd almost rather do it bits at a time, almost make it something that he's used to, rather than have him find out about a significant portion of it at an age where he can truly understand it and have nightmares or whatever.  If it's always part of his existence, maybe by the time he understands the full significance he'll be old enough to handle it.  Wishful thinking, I'm sure, but at this point I'm not sure how else to do it.  We'll find our way, I'm sure, but probably not without some trauma one of these years.  God knows that by next year we'll have to be a little more careful with the TV selections, because the questions will no doubt be that much more intense by then.  The fact that we got questions already today was something I wasn't that prepared for, and it really got me wondering more in depth about how we're going to explain this someday.  We can tell our stories from that day, but the larger story about how it impacted the world, how there are people that evil, how many people suffered so terribly...I can't even begin to explain it.  History classes may do some of the dirty work, but only we can truly help him understand what it all means from our perspective. 

Getting into the horrors of September 11th means tackling a lot of difficult topics--fire, plane crashes, evil people, death, destruction--and you never want to expose your child to such atrocities.  They'll find out eventually, but it's hard to willingly expose your child to that, even if it means you're being proactive.  It's hard to know an appropriate age or how many details they're ready for.  I know Jacob is still too young for 99% of it, but you can't help but think about it on a day like today when it's all been refreshed in your mind.  Maybe it can help prepare you for the next year, when it may become an imminently important question to answer.  Or, God forbid, some other day when something else horrible takes place and you can't escape it.  The footage we're watching today will fade away tomorrow, at least until next year, but I remember far too well how ubiquitous the coverage was 10 years ago.  It's hard to escape, and as an educated person you sort of want to watch so you know what's happening in your own world.  How do you keep up-to-date while protecting your own child?  It's a tough balance, for sure.  I pray that we never have to make that decision.
For now, all we can do is remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Trip Highlights

I asked Craig if he wanted to do a guest blog post to go with the pictures from their trip last weekend, but I think if I wait for him it might be a while!  He writes enough on a daily basis that I'm sure it's about the last thing he wants to do at home.  So instead, here are some pictures...

Jacob with a cannon at Gettysburg

Another monument at Gettysburg

Tough guy with his band-aid

Trying on a hat in the store

Playing with army guys at the rental house

Playing with his baseball guys...they're currently taking up a patch of our living room rug, too.

Playing ball by the pool

At the Delmarva Shorebirds game

With his cousins around a giant baseball after the game

Chugging water...what else is new?

This carousel seems to be more his speed than the big ones...

Cool!  Snoopy and his plane!
Overall, the boys had a good time.  Jacob was a handful, but it was good, quality time with family he doesn't get to spend a ton of time with.  They saw a lot of historical stuff and Jacob talks about the army guys quite a bit.  He told me that his favorite part was the baseball game, and he loves talking about the van ride.  His face is healing nicely now, but he may always bear a little scar from this trip, evidence of his defiant streak that provoked him to flop around on the bed and fly off into the nightstand in the middle of the night.  It's a special trip that I wasn't part of, but I guess that makes it extra special for Jacob and Craig because it's something that just they share.  And to me, my time alone was equally special.  Best of both worlds...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mom Bag

For a while now I've been looking for a "Mom Bag".  Yes, I walk around with the diaper bag whenever I'm with Jacob, but we don't use the diaper bag contents that much anymore...just wipes, maybe a pull-up now and then.  So instead of dragging it around and putting the contents of my purse in and out of it all the time, I wanted to get a bigger purse that I could rely on most of the time instead.  The diaper bag will still get use for longer outings and weekends, but when we're running out to the store or to dinner, the purse seems sufficient. 

The issue, however, is that I've had a small purse forever.  I've never had a giant one like I see most people carrying, whether they're trendy designer bags or the "Mom jeans" equivalent of the handbag world.  In fact, over the weekend when I was out shopping by myself, I felt like anyone looking at me would never guess I was a mom because I had this tiny little purse.  Here's a picture from a few years back, when my two best friends and I all had the same purse in different colors.  We all had the same little Nine West bag.  Mine is the one on the right, and it's pretty similar to my current one, just a slightly lighter color of pinkish-purple than my most recent one.     
And that's Lois in the middle...
Lately I'd been feeling sort of like the little purse betrays my wisdom and experience (ha!) as a mom, so perhaps it was time to sacrifice my shoulder to the weight of a big bag that could fit my stuff and some of Jacob's, too.  I looked around for a while, nothing crazy but keeping an eye out.  I really wanted one that had decent-sized end pockets, much like the mesh pockets on our diaper bag that usually hold Jacob's straw sippy cup.  I wanted something on the outside of the bag in case the cup leaked.  Other than that, it couldn't be super huge, but it needed to be a decent size, and either a neutral color or a fun color that could work with mutiple outfits and seasons.  I wanted it to be generally lightweight and stylish...and of course not too expensive!

During my solo weekend, I started looking a little more seriously.  I found one at Target that looked quite similar to my Nine West...much bigger but the same print in neutral colors.  It didn't have the outside pockets but it was a good size, a look I was comfortable with, and it just seemed right.  I bought it but kept looking, just in case.  I found another at Burlington Coat Factory that was a real Nine West, quite a bit bigger and slightly flashier (metallic trim).  It even had the pockets I wanted.  However, you can only return for store credit there, the bag was pretty big, and I wasn't sure the bag was quite my style.  In theory it was a better fit, but I wasn't sure it was practical for everyday use.  So, back to the Target bag...
Hard to tell the size, but it's about a foot square.  It's black with khaki in the shapes, though not as shiny as it looks...and yes, it's the exact same print as my old purse!
It's hard to do it justice, but long story short, it's a nice cross between casual and formal and it has a ton of room.  There are a lot of pockets and compartments, which is nice.  I put my stuff in it and had to laugh, because there was SO much room in it.  My stuff hardly took up any space!  Who knew my purse was that small!  Of course, now I noticed that my wallet is too small (never got a bigger one since my purse couldn't handle it) and will happily replace that as well when the next good sale pops up.  I gave the purse its first test tonight when we went to dinner.  I threw in a pull-up, a small wipes container, and two of Jacob's little toys.  Oh, and the camera.  Everything fit fine.  Extra pants and underwear should too.  And for the sippy cup scenario, I figured out that they fit in a Ziploc, so that's my plan there. 

I fought it for all this time, but I have finally graduated to the mom bag.  My time has come. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back in the swing of things...

Well, the boys are back.  They had a good time and it's been good having them back.  It's been a little bit of an adjustment getting back to normal bedtime, potty training, and meals at the table.  I don't know if it's just that I missed him or if he's still getting back in his terror groove, but part of me feels like things haven't been as bad.  Difficult, yes....torture, no.  It might help that we have some new things to hang over Jacob's head (his souvenirs, the risk of being back in the ER strapped to the table), but while he's still not listening, he's been a little easier-going in general.  Maybe I'm just easier-going because I had a break.  It's refreshing to have a break from the screaming, and I feel better about keeping my calm.  So, I'm not sure if it's me or him, but it's been a little less frustrating.

His wound is healing fine, per his doctor, though there's still a painful looking pink spot in the middle of it. There's still a lot of glue to peel off, but hopefully it will heal well.  Might be worth investing in some Mederma to lessen scarring.  It doesn't seem to bother him other than when we're changing his band-aid.  I think we'll have to start letting it breathe, but I left a band-aid on it tonight so he doesn't accidentally bleed on his animals. 

It's been funny to watch the parade of pictures on Facebook the last few days (and even weeks, considering my friends down south) showing everyone's kids' first day of school.  A lot of my friends have new Kindergartners, in particular.  Hard to believe that will be us in two years.  I guess I feel a little lucky that we're not having a big "new year" transition at daycare.  Jacob did his a couple months ago so we're already good there...even if he's still asking to go back to his old room.  I suppose this is one of the last years (if not the last) without a big transition, and then from then on, every new school year is going to be a deep-breath-and-dive-in scenario with new schools, new teachers, new friends, new routines, and more.  I'm still not sure where Jacob will go (public vs. private), so I'm not sure if we're going to have to do the bus thing, or what.  Yikes.  I have to think back-to-school is a big thing for parents, too, since it means a whole new year of keeping tabs on your kids and their respective batches of homework, friend problems, teacher problems, and activities.  Right now, apparently we have it easy. 

It's been funny this week because a great blog I just started following (which, of course, is now ENDING) has had the theme of what the mom bloggers would do with a kid-free day.  Of course, the topic is near and dear to my heart since I just finished blogging about my real-life experience with kid-free life.  It's been interesting to read other moms' take on the subject, and I must say that I found myself nodding right along with most of them.  I did disagree with one that insisted that kids don't have to prevent you from doing things, but let's face it--no normal three year old is going to stand by quietly while you browse clearance racks for three hours.  Ain't happenin'.  Nice thought, but no.  And not just that, but I wouldn't necessarily want to put my kid through that even if I could.  But the rest were very interesting to read...even though my experience got nowhere near a spa, massage, mani/pedi, a beach, or an alcoholic beverage.  So I value getting things done over complete relaxation...sue me.  I'll be sad to see the site end, though technically I do have about eight months of posts to catch up on.

So, yeah, things are back to normal and it's ok. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Downside

My days alone are coming to an end.  In a little while I'll be hopping in the car to meet the boys at the same park and ride that I dropped them off at.  They're getting back later than I originally anticipated, which is good and bad.  I get these last few hours to relax, now that my spree of household chores and shopping is over, but I was hoping for a little time with Jacob tonight before bedtime. such luck.  He only asked about me once while they were gone.  I'm not going to take it personally, because he obviously had plenty of other things keeping him occupied over the last five days.  I'm sure he also enjoyed not hearing me scream at him as much as I enjoyed not having to do it.  He still got plenty of discipline, apparently, but I know he also got a little spoiled.  It doesn't sound like potty training was particularly successful, either.  Should be an interesting adjustment period.

I managed to get a ton of stuff done over the last five-plus days.  I cleaned my bathroom, caulked the tub, changed the knob on the door to our garage, vacuumed and dusted the entire house, did a little yard work, enjoyed some cooking, did a ton of filing (I have a huge bagfull of shredding to do), and did a lot of shopping.  I hit up the clearance racks and found some cool stuff, and it was fun to have the time to shop for myself for a change.  I did look for stuff for Jacob, but apparently 4T isn't a great size for clearance finds.  I did get two things for him--not clothes--though I'm still deciding if I'm going to keep them.  It's planning ahead a little bit, but they were items I had my eye on for a while, and they were on clearance.  We'll see...

Anyway, it's left me a lot of time for thinking and observing. I mean, I certainly missed Craig and Jacob a lot.  Evenings were quiet and bedtime was a little lonely.  I kept wanting to turn on the baby monitor or check on Jacob in his room.  Phone conversations were hard because there was always a lot of noise on the other end and Craig was trying to keep an eye on Jacob at the same time.  Let's just say that those kind of conversations aren't the most ideal for reconnecting.  But at the same time, it was nice to reclaim the extra 30-40 minutes that usually spent getting Jacob into bed.  I found myself turning on the TV far more than I do when Jacob's here.  I guess I missed his noise a bit, or at least I'm too used to having his noise so I needed something to fill the void.  It was weird not having anyone to talk to at times, but I'll admit I probably fell back into solo life easier than I expected.  When I lived alone, I loved it.  I really didn't feel the need to call anyone...and while that's fine, it's a little scary how easy it would be to fall into that sort of non-social life and be ok with it.  I don't know...maybe I didn't miss them as much as I should have.   

It's amazing how much you look around and notice your surroundings when you're not constantly engrossed in/distracted by your own child.  I seemed to notice other people with kids far more than usual.  I noticed so many sweet, joyful little girls...which at first made me wistful for the baby stage but then made me more frustrated by how much I want a girl next time around.  I wouldn't trade Jacob for anything (nor a future brother) BUT girls are just so different and I can't help but hope we get one. They skip around and get excited about cute stuff.  Jacob is pretty serious about so many things, and sports seems to be the only thing that gets him excited.  It would be nice to have a change of pace.  I feel bad saying that, but I just noticed it a lot this weekend.

I felt sort of like I was cheating by being out shopping alone.  I would see these people lugging around a stroller or managing their kids or helping them eat, and I felt like I was getting off so easy because I didn't have to do that.  I'm a mom, I have a little boy, and yet I got to shop uninterrupted.  With my empty hands and small purse, people probably couldn't imagine that I was one of them, that I've been there.  It was weird. 

The fact that this was the first time in over three years that I've had solo time like this scared me a little.  When I was looking at those other people, I started having moments where it was like, "Can I really do this again?"  If it's taken me this long to get a free long weekend, how long will it be before another one, especially if we have another baby?  It'll be that much harder to ship two off with Craig or the grandparents, particularly when one is an infant.  If it took me this long to get around to all the things I did, am I going to have to wait that long again?  Longer?  It was just another reminder of how busy I am normally with one, and then I had a friend post on Facebook about how she looks back on life with one kid (she now has three) and laughs at how busy she thought she was then.  It definitely makes you wonder how it'll all work out. 

It was certainly and interesting few days, though.  Ultimately I hope it'll make me appreciate what I have, and if nothing else, nothing will take away the great experience of being productive and getting back to "me" for a bit.  In the end I know that I couldn't live without my boys.  I can lend them out for a few days, but this time was only as sweet as it was because I knew that they were coming back.  My life is what it is, and once you make these big decisions, there's no going back.  Hard though it is at times, anything else would be empty in comparison.  And now, it's time to go fill my life back up again...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The List

Ever since I've become a mother, I've become increasingly aware of the to do list floating through my brain at any given moment.  I can't tell you how many times I've wished my brain had an Outlook calendar that was prepared to pop up with a reminder as needed.  Perhaps that's just a sign that I need a better cellphone with calendar capabilities, but quite frankly, I don't want to be beholden to my phone and would rather just have the reminders pop up in front of my face where I can't miss them.  At any given moment there's a dozen things percolating through my head--work, housework, shopping, cooking, child care, entertainment, you-name-it.  Some is vital, some is just anal-retentive...but it's a constant stream of things I need to do, remember, go to, or buy. 

It's as big as remembering a doctor's appointment (and getting up early enough to make it), or as small as clipping Jacob's fingernails.  It's remembering who needs more cereal or that we're out of toilet paper, and having some concept of which items I have coupons for.  It's having some idea of what we're going to eat for dinner, what I still need to buy, and whether or not Jacob will eat enough of it to sustain life...and if not, can he eat something else, suffer through it as a lesson in trying new foods, or do we just put it off until he's a little more adventurous?  Should we eat out, or is it too expensive?  Would there be a more advantageous day to eat out instead?  I strategize with sales before making a big purchase (not quite extreme couponing, but I do what I can), think about how many spare diapers we have in the diaper bag, and plan my yardwork based on the weather.  I agonize over the decisions I make when it comes to dealing with Jacob's behavior, and replay them in my head long after the fact. 

I'm sure there's a lot more that's not coming to mind right now, but you get the idea.  I suppose most of them are first world problems and life is pretty darn good in general, but the constant stream gets to be tiresome.  It's hard when you need to consider the consequences and next steps every time you make a decision or do anything.  I don't think I realized how much that impacted me until this time alone, when I'm constantly trying to plan ahead but suddenly realize that I'm the only one I'll be impacting. 

I sometimes wonder if guys have this running dialog.  Maybe single dads do.  But based on conversations I've had, it seems like it's definitely a mom thing.  I have some theories about why guys don't seem quite as crazy:

1) They're just not as anal about the little things.
2) They have women who take care of the little things for them.
3) They don't think as deeply about the little stuff, so they don't realize what might be missing/easily improved.
4) They don't realize the to do list is so long, so they don't have the urgency to get things done.
5) Relaxing is just prioritized higher for men, either because they physically need more breaks (ha!) or because 1-4 allow them to do so.

Earlier this week we had a fire drill at work, and I spent the whole walk down 16 stories, down the street to our meeting place, then all the way back, talking to a co-worker who has a one-year-old son.  She brought up the lists in her head, and shared a story about when her family went camping a couple weeks ago.  They got to the campsite and did the basic unpacking, at which point her husband pulled out a chair, grabbed a beer and sat down.  And then she looked at him and said, "It must be nice..."...because there was still a lot more unpacking and organizing to do, which she wanted to take care of before sitting down to relax.  Would the unpacking have gotten done eventually?  Probably, but from a woman's perspective it's important to get it done just in case you run into problems later, just in case more gets added to the mental to do list.  I can relate to her issue, because there were a few times this summer when Craig got out of work early (4pm most days) and by the time I got home with Jacob in tow, Craig was chilling on the couch with a movie.  I'm sure there were plenty of other things to do--picking up Jacob among them--but for whatever reason the movie won out.  So, are women maybe a little extra anal?  Maybe.  But could men keep that in mind and meet us halfway?  Yep.

Everyone's been telling me to relax this weekend, but the sheer fact that this list doesn't necessarily have to be running through my head all the time makes it inherently more relaxing than any given day.  And anything I accomplish is a huge weight off my shoulders for days or weeks to come.  I have been productive, but I still have a pretty sizable list.  I wore myself out today with re-caulking our tub and a bunch of shopping, so it might be a low-key evening.  We'll see.  I have plenty of things to do sitting down, too :)  This has definitely been an interesting experience, and I do miss my boys, but I'm savoring the quiet and the ease with which I can get things done.  It'll be over soon enough...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Catching up on the weekend...

Amidst all the craziness with the trip, I never got around to posting pics from the weekend.  Craig was in Maryland for the championship weekend for Major League Lacrosse (his team won their first game but lost in the championship game) and I had to decide whether we were going to go to Craig's family picnic.  Part of me really wanted to stay home and relax, but we hadn't seen his family in a while so I decided to go.  In the end there weren't a ton of people that we knew (most of his family came considerably later), but we managed to keep ourselves occupied.  We played sports, snacked, and chatted with some of Craig's second (and third?) cousins.  I came prepared with a bag full of sports equipment, and we used all of it!
Drop kick!

The pure joy of getting tickled!

He was purposely trying to get stuck in the Kan Jam bucket!
Once the rest of Craig's family arrived and dinner was over, it was time for the traditional softball game.  Apparently back in the day the games were pretty competitive, but nowadays it's made up of mostly the kids.  Jacob really wanted to play.

My little catcher!
Of course, right before the game, Jacob stepped into a giant mud puddle and fell on his butt.  He was coated in mud.  I forced him to make the long walk back to the car to change, and the tough thing was that we'd been there for many hours by that point and still had to stop at my parents' quick and then head I knew we had to leave soon anyway.  Jacob had a total meltdown and was screaming about wanting to play in the game.  In the end, I relented and decided that we could go back and he could have one at bat, and then we'd have to go.  We made the long walk back and he got his at bat (a home run!  Ok, so maybe there was some sketchy fielding and suspect base running, but he DID hit it!), but then he wanted to run out and play the field.  His team was still batting, so according to baseball rules he couldn't go out there...never mind the fact that he's a little guy and there was a real ball out there (a slightly softer tee ball one, I think).  He completely flipped out again, and this time I could really tell he was overtired (only a 45 minute nap on the way there), so we headed out, kicking and screaming (literally).  In all the craziness, I accidentally left his good glove and one of his whiffle bats there, but luckily Craig's family scooped them up for us and they were reunited on this week's trip.

We made our quick stop at my parents, and fortunately Jacob fell asleep on the way home and stayed that way.  And he slept in!
We had a lazy day on Sunday, and the highlight was going out to dinner with Lori.  We went to Pizzeria Uno, and Jacob got to make his own pizza.  It's nice to have a little extra something to kill time at a restaurant!

Not much else to report, particularly in light of the last couple days.  I'm just looking forward to a few days of time to take care of the things I've been wanting to tackle for ages.  I still have some cleaning to do, and plenty of other household and bookkeeping-type things.  Let's hope I can get most of it done!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Not such a good start...

Ok, so most of my motherly worrying never comes to fruition. I mean, I worry about things and then plan accordingly (like potty accidents in public meaning that I need to bring multiple clothing changes along for the ride), but most of the really big things never get to the point that I worry they may. Well...turns out my hand-wringing in my last post wasn't all for naught.

I got a call from Craig this morning as soon as I sat at my desk. I asked how things were and he said that last night wasn't exactly the best night ever. At first I thought he just meant that Jacob didn't sleep, but oh was much worse. Apparently Jacob woke up when they got to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning. He was screwing around on the bed, not wanting to sleep, and he fell off. THUMP. He smacked his face on the nightstand and came up bleeding. So, off to the emergency room they went for a few hours in the middle of the night. They glued shut a cut below his eye.

Craig sent me this picture this morning. His eyes always have the dark circles (allergies) and he already had the little cut on his nose (scratched himself in his sleep). You can see a little cut peeking out over the band-aid (a Snoopy one!) but there's a larger cut (Craig guessed an inch...hoping it's not really that big) under there somewhere. It also looks like his cheek might be a little red and swollen at the bottom of the band-aid.

It's so hard to know that my baby went through such a nasty injury and I wasn't there for him. He's fine, running around like a maniac today (no doubt sleep-deprived), but it's hard to know that I wasn't there. I feel bad that Craig had to go through that without me (though luckily he had his parents as support), and I feel sort of helpless knowing that my little boy has this nasty cut and I can't see it up close myself or have any concept of whether it will scar.

I'm trying not to judge the situation because, as I said, it only takes a second. I know that I would have done everything in my power to make sure Jacob wasn't screwing around like that in the middle of the night, but there's a chance even that wouldn't have prevented this. However, part of me is relieved that I wasn't there, only because I'm sure I would have been FREAKING out. So, yeah, there's guilt on that front, too. Maybe all my worrying was just mother's intuition or something. Letting go is never easy, but maybe that foreboding feeling I had had some merit. We'll see how the rest of the trip goes, particularly now that everyone's starting out sleep-deprived.

I'm just sad that my baby got hurt, that I wasn't there for him, and that can't observe the situation myself to calm my fears about (or come to terms with) how bad it is.  I am usually so deeply involved in the goings-on of his life, so to be apart from him when something major happens is such a foreign concept for me.  I feel almost disoriented.

The house certainly felt empty last night.  It wasn't so much Craig's absence, as I'm used to that.  But not having to turn on the baby monitor or check on Jacob before bed, not having to be quiet or avoid his room before he's sleeping deeply, or even just being able to structure my evening as I was all so weird.  I definitely missed the idea of them, but I didn't really miss the yelling and coercing that comes along with having Jacob around.  I appreciated being able to do one major cleaning project without interruption, and knowing that I have a few more days to finish the rest of the cleaning that I didn't get to.  And yeah, I liked being able to sing along to the Party Favorites music station on the TV and dance the Macarena without the risk of waking up Jacob.  I do miss them, but I know this is just for a few days and I need to take this time to take care of something else I've been missing--a little part of myself.  It gets lost in the shuffle far too easily and I know this is my chance to do something about it without it seeming selfish or directly impacting anyone else.  And for that opportunity, I am truly grateful.