The End of the Summer

Traditionally, summer is my favorite season, although now that my world is not ruled by the school year (at least for another two years) my favorite time of the year is late summer/early fall. Nevertheless there’s always something bittersweet about the end of August and feeling like you must squeeze in every last summery thing before being covered in snow for eight straight months.

New Bike!

New Bike!

Elena’s birthday is in January and she won’t switch rooms at her school until then. Some of her little friends switched rooms (and apparently she’s not too happy about them not being around all the time). Also Grandma Patty went back to work so Elena will be going back to Bea’s for Fridays. But otherwise we don’t have any major school-based changes for her now that the school year has started. That will come for her soon enough.

Pool Party

Pool Party

Also, since the baby is coming fairly soon I feel very much how this end of the summer time is also the end of our time as a three-person one-cat little family. I’m sure it will all be good things, expanding our little family to four-person, but it’s a change, and we’ll all be affected by it, and so I’m feeling very strongly how the end of how things are right now.

Change is good and necessary, but change is difficult and emotional. The year Elena was born, I got a new job and we moved from Wheeling to Pittsburgh. I’m obviously happy that all those things happened but it was a very emotionally exhausting year and we needed to just live for a while after that. Now it’s time for more change, because we can’t just stagnate.

I’ve been saying for months that I just want it to be next spring already. I want the baby to be old enough to be cute and non-scary, and for us to all be used to her being around. I want to be able to run, and play hockey, and to bend over to pick something up without feeling like I might not be able to stand up again. I want things to be settled again after this period of being unsettled. Who knows what next spring will look like? I guess we’ll have to make it through the fall and winter to see.

Five Things I Did This Week

(1) Elizabeth asked if I could watch Rachel so she could go for a run.  Having asked plenty of people for the same type of assistance I could hardly say no. Plus Elena and Rachel like to play together.  I decided to take them to the pool.  They had a lot of fun, and Ryan even came to play too.  Unfortunately Elena hit a brick wall of tired and wouldn’t stop crying for about the last 40 minutes.  Rachel was great.  Here’s a picture of them before things got terrible.

serenity at the baby pool

serenity at the baby pool

(2) Because I am a terrible mother, we were home and resting for slightly more than an hour before our next activity – Stacey & Frank stopped by on their way home from Erie to get ice cream and hang out for a bit. Elena pulled it together for ice cream and for some quality time with Frank.

she likes Frank

she likes Frank

(3) We have three tomato plants in our back yard “garden” (which consists entirely of three tomato plants and two basil plants). I am truly considering taking up canning next year because we have had an insane number of tomatoes in the past two weeks. (I’m not really going to take up canning. Canning seems insanely complicated. This is one of the things that my dad’s dad used to do all the time and I wish he were around to show me how to do it. That and playing the accordion.)

It makes me sad, because what I wouldn’t do for a gorgeous fresh tomato in the middle of the winter, and here I’ve got so many that I’m not able to eat them all. I’ve been making sauce the past few Sundays. I made a ton of sauce this Sunday. That reminds me that I need to remember to put it in the freezer. Maybe we can have some reminder of summer later.

crazy tomato

crazy tomato

(4) Another Pirates game! What the heck, bandwagonner?? No, I’m NOT a bandwagonner, although we have gone to more games this year (5) than we usually do (I’d say we usually do 3 give or take). Patrick at work organized a group to go together, but then the only people that actually made it past the pregame tailgate were Mitch, Nate and April. That was fine with us because we had room to stretch out. Elena came with us to this one and generally had a good time (probably because she was permitted to eat fries for longer than I thought necessary). Elena’s new food experience this week was “Old Bay seasoning.” Does that count?

pirates game #5

pirates game #5

(5) Unrelated to fries, Elena caught some stomach bug that was going around her school and she and I stayed home on Tuesday. This is literally the second or third time I’ve stayed home with her when she’s been sick. This is due to a combination of her only getting sick when Grandma Patty is not working, and her generally not getting sick very often at all. I sort of like it when she’s sick with stomach bug because the “should she stay home” line is very clear. She wasn’t too sick, but I think the day of rest did us both some good. Here’s a picture she took of me.

sick day

sick day

Weekend Fun Part II

I mean, why not, since it’s already Thursday. How did this week go by so quickly?

Clearly we had a pretty full day on Saturday, and we had plans for Sunday afternoon. I struggle a bit when we have afternoon plans because I like to do things in the morning. Ben had hockey in the morning so it was just Elena and I. I needed to do laundry and whatnot, and Elena needed someone to play Little People with her, so we sort of just took turns doing what we needed to do. She also helped me make a monsterload of mac & cheese. Basically we took it easy at home. I always feel like I should get a gold star when I actually plan the day properly.

In the afternoon we went on the Good Ship Lollipop! The Good Ship Lollipop is part of the Gateway Clipper fleet, wherein you can take a boat ride around the three rivers and learn about some Pittsburgh history. I went on the Good Ship Lollipop when I was about Elena’s age with my mom and grandma. Ben and I took Elena last year on just a regular Gateway Clipper boat. This year due to good planning we were able to get on the kid one before they stop running for the summer. Also we asked my mom to come.

Waiting for the boat

Waiting for the boat

Ready to go

Ready to go

There were a ton of people waiting to ride the boat. I see the Just Ducky tours all over the place, so I’m glad that people are still doing Gateway Clipper boat rides too. I’d be happy to do a Just Ducky ride, although I think out of our party only Elena would really enjoy quacking at people. As a downtown worker I do not enjoy being quacked at.

City View

City View

View of the Point

View of the Point

My mom really enjoyed the ride because of all the interesting information about the city and especially because of the views. It was a gorgeous day, the fountain has been turned on again after four years of being off, and there was lots to look at.

Knit the Bridge Project

Knit the Bridge Project

We got to see part of the installation of the Knit the Bridge project, which was a fun thing for me to watch since I see our gorgeous city almost every day.

I would post a picture of my mom but that is PROHIBITO. I actually have one, too, that I took sneakily, but I don’t want to get disowned and I was supposed to have destroyed it.

They had Pirate Tristan for the kids. Pirate Tristan went all around the boat and made balloon swords for all the kids. Then they got to learn how to fence, and then they all went on a pirate adventure. Elena LOVED this. She is a fan of Jake and the Neverland Pirates so she was familiar with the concept, and she had a really good time pretending to be a pirate.

Pirate Elena

Pirate Elena

Weekend Fun Part I

As I often do, I scheduled two things for Saturday and then spent the rest of the weekend wondering when I was going to do my laundry, dishes, cooking, grocery shopping, etc.

Saturday morning Elena’s school friend Mollie came over for a play date. Elena was very excited to have Mollie come over. I thought since they played together at school all the time, it would just be a nice relaxing morning of me sitting on a chair making sure that nobody fell off the slide. However, apparently when you are three, there are a lot of disagreements about what to do and when to do it, and also about sharing. The idea that so-and-so is playing with the pink ball now, but you can have a turn later, or in fact you might both have more fun if you played with the pink ball together, is something that sort of needs to be explained to them approximately every 10 minutes.

I’ve posted about this before, but it’s been hard at times for me to NOT impose my social anxiety on my child. As I told Ben and also Mollie’s mom, if I’d had as many disagreements with one of my friends that they had in the few hours they were together, it’d be like, “that was a terrible visit” and I’d never want to see them again. But I think Mollie and Elena both had fun, because that is their reality. There were good-bye hugs. And now we have a new play date friend. Hooray!

That would probably be enough to retire most people to their bedrooms with a valium and a good book for the rest of the day, but NOT ME OH NO. On to adventure #2: painting our own pottery at Fired Up in McMurray. Stacey emailed me a few weeks ago asking about getting together to do this. Fired Up is about halfway between Pittsburgh and Wheeling so it was a good choice for a meeting place. I’ve done the paint your own pottery thing before and I really enjoy it (even though I’m hardly an expert – I just find it a nice way to spend some time and a lot of money). I wasn’t sure how Elena would do, but she likes to paint so I figured it would probably be OK.

Pre-painting snack

Pre-painting snack

Stacey selected a cake plate to paint. Elena selected a regular plate, which surprised me because she bypassed a ton of cats and other types of figurines to do so. She also decided to paint it orange. Elena has never, ever chosen orange over another color. She then proceeded to do a pretty good job painting.

Stacey's cake plate, Elena's plate

Stacey’s cake plate, Elena’s plate

Stacey’s painting job was awesome, of course, but she’s pretty creative and this was not surprising.

Watching Stacey paint

Watching Stacey paint

After Elena finished the plate, she picked a small cup and saucer to paint. These were done in several shades of blue. I didn’t take a picture of them. They weren’t as impressive.

I chose an extremely small piece myself because things were starting to add up, cost-wise. And also I mostly just like painting swirls on things.

My beautiful creation

My beautiful creation

As we were finishing up, Elena decided to act like an actual three year old as opposed to some potentially gifted future painter, and she broke a set of $31 measuring spoons. I was VERY UPSET with her because all I got to paint was a damn light switch cover and I was going to have to pay all this money now. It was difficult to tell if she was more upset with me yelling at her, or if Stacey was. Anyway we all got over it. It was an accident. (Just a very expensive one.)

We met Nate and April at Harry’s Pizza for dinner. Apparently no one else likes to drive to halfway between Wheeling and Pittsburgh to see them and they were very grateful that I’d come out that way, which made me feel like a heel because I hadn’t even come to visit them! We have to go back and look at their kittens some time.

Stacey gave Elena some Big Sister presents (THANK YOU STACEY – Elena loves the bear and we’ve read the book a couple of times already!) and got us some nice stuff for New Baby as well (THANK YOU for this as well – Elena is currently “borrowing” most of those presents). This makes me think we should hang out with Stacey more often….

So if you can believe it, that was only part I of our weekend! Stay tuned for part II!

Pirates game August 7 2013

As promised, I did something interesting last night and I’m going to post about it.

Because I am no longer able to play hockey, my hockey friends took pity on me and pretended that they wanted to do something that involved some other sport. So we organized an evening out at the Pirates game. Ben decided on a Wednesday evening Marlins matchup because he has strong opinions about such things.

Unfortunately it rained before the game. I walked across from town with Debby I’s umbrella (which I’ve been borrowing for so long that I think I should get squatter’s rights ownership) and considered whether I needed to spend money on a rain slicker.

I'm happy because umbrella

I'm happy because umbrella

I stopped to get bottled water from Ben’s water guy at the corner of Fort Duquesne and Roberto Clemente. Ben has gone to enough games that he has a favorite water guy. Why not. I posted this picture on Facebook and Michael told me that he works with the assistant water salesperson at their normal job. Small world!

Ben's water guy...and apparently Michael's coworker

Ben's water guy…and apparently Michael's coworker

The rain did not let up as we waited for our party to assemble.

Waiting for our party to assemble

Waiting for our party to assemble

I did not get a picture of the whole group because I almost passed out standing around (pro tip: standing around when 8 months pregnant is not advisable) so I had to rush inside to get food and a seat.

Miraculously the rain stopped more or less as soon as I got into the stadium. Soon enough most of our group re-assembled in our seats. (Some of our group decided to drink for four innings first.) The game was slightly rain delayed while they cleaned up the field, which worked out well for seat finding and food acquisition. And then the game started!

Jake and Jess and the National Anthem

Jake and Jess and the National Anthem

I put an exclamation point on that last sentence, but anyone who’s been to a baseball game knows it isn’t like that. The first couple innings of a Pirates baseball game involve everyone taking pictures of the gorgeous views and posting them to Facebook.

Our gorgeous view

Our gorgeous view

Jake sat in front of me so after he took his picture I decided to be ridiculous and posted asking him where he was sitting and telling him that he should wave to me. So he did.

Waving

Waving

It was a good game – the Marlins scored first but the Pirates put up some solid defense to prevent them from scoring more, and then the Pirates scored some fairly awesome runs, and there were more Pirates runs than Marlins runs. Also Oliver Onion won the pierogie race and he’s my favorite, yo.

I decided to leave early to avoid having to walk through the crowds and possibly actually passing out.

PNC Park sign

PNC Park sign

I listened to the third out from the bridge

I listened to the third out from the bridge

They got the last three outs quickly and the Pirates won!

Fireworks

The game was in Pittsburgh, so there are fireworks

Plus, Missy and Larry were kind enough to escort me back to my car to ensure that I did not pass out.

For those of you who do not live in Pittsburgh and/or follow baseball, the Pirates are doing well this year for the first time in a very long time and it’s very exciting.

All in all it was a fun evening, despite the minor setbacks of rain and almost passing out. I enjoyed hanging out with everyone and appreciated that we were able to do something other than play hockey together.

I feel boring

Remember back in June when I was all “OMG we have so much going on in June but then nothing much in July and August so we can just sit back and relax?”  This was determined by me at that time to be a good thing because it was going to be very hot, I was going to be very pregnant, and all I would want to do would be to sit at the pool.

Well, there is nothing much going on in July and August.  However, it is NOT very hot.  I DO want to sit by the pool, but due to the cooler weather and semi frequent rain this has not been a big draw.

I am, however, still very pregnant.  I am not very good at sitting back and relaxing.  I want to be doing things!  Unfortunately when I start to do things these days, my back starts to hurt and/or I have to lie down for an hour!  Everything sounds very exhausting.  At the same time, doing nothing is not appealing.  The end result is that I feel boring.

I’ve been doing *some* things.  Keeping busy and whatnot.  Things I’ve been doing include but are not limited to:

  • Cleaning the house and rearranging the rooms in anticipation of the baby’s arrival.  Although Ben has had to do most of the literal heavy lifting on this.  I haven’t been moving furniture.  You know, *much*.
  • Going to the doctor a lot.  (Everything is fine. You just have to go to the doctor kind of a lot when you’re super pregnant.)
  • Getting sick with some sort of sinus issue.  (That was no fun.)
  • Having some old college friends over for dinner.
  • Going to watch Ben play hockey and thinking longingly of the day that I’ll be able to maybe play a game again.
  • Being consistently amazed at how our cat seems to come up with EVEN MORE ANNOYING meows when he’s “hungry” for food.  Every time I thought it was the most annoying he could be, he finds a new pitch or tone and I want to stab myself in the face.  (I do think he’s lost some weight though!)
  • Growing brain tissue and bone structure of my new child.  You know, standard stuff.

Wednesday we’re going to another Pirates game (possibly my last of the season – although I have one more potential for this month, it’s a Sunday game and will depend on the weather).  We go to a few games a year REGARDLESS of how much they are winning.  I am not a bandwagoner.  Saturday I’m painting pots with Stacey, Sunday we’re going on the Good Ship Lollipop, and Monday we have a thing for Ben’s cousin who’s home on leave from Navy.  Maybe I’ll take pictures and do proper blog posts of these events.  That will make me feel less boring.  I hope!