In an effort to be better at documenting our lives, I’m sharing a quarantine week 1 update. I recognize the things that are hard for me right now are small in the bigger picture. A lot of people are struggling. A lot of people are dealing with things. I hope sharing our life doesn’t come off as insensitive. We are all doing hard things right now… some of them much harder than others.
We have survived the firsts week! What about you?
I don’t think I’ve ever been more grateful to live one hour away from my parents (except maybe that really hard personal day I had before the world got turned upside down).
Ben has been traveling for work M-Th since February but all travel was halted last week. We tried a full day of all being under the same roof here in Boston on Monday and quickly made the plan to head up to New Hampshire during lunch on Tuesday. Trying to keep kids entertained and quiet enough for Ben to work (while losing a bedroom to him) was not easy (I know you know, because you’re doing it right now).
And so we spent the rest of the week living out my dream of multigenerational living with four generations under one roof! My grandpa lives with my parents (when we moved back to the US from Japan when I was 10 we built a house in New Hampshire with my grandparents – my parents and grandparents have lived in the same house for almost 20 years until my grandma passed away almost a year ago). There are so many great things about it. I miss having my own space, I miss having all my stuff, and I miss the ease of routine that we had going on in our house BUT I am mostly just so happy about this situation (and choosing to focus on the great things about it right now).
I am so grateful to have adults around to talk during the day. Both my parents work from home so my dad is down at lunch and an afternoon snack each day. He feeds Westley, runs around with Lincoln, and takes the kids for walks before dinner. My mom is an angel and I’m grateful to be living with her example of selflessness and calm during a trying time in parenting. She runs “grandma school” for the kids with designated activities, teaches Lincoln how to read, and alternates with me cooking for everyone. Great-grandpa is a painter and teaches the big kids art lessons up his studio. Once this week I couldn’t find Adelaide and realized she’d snuck of and finagled her way into another art lesson with her 93 year old great-grandpa. These are the moments I hope to remember from all of this.
When I spent time reading the news or getting on social media, I’m reminded how real and scary this is. There are people who are dying. There are people who are scared. There are lots of futures that are unknown and presents that are HARD. I’m trying to find a balance between staying informed and staying positive, between facing the harsh reality and living joyfully in the reality of my little children. I’m not always great at it.
Ben is still working crazy hours, putting in 12-16 hours a day from his make-shift home office in my high school bedroom. It has been helpful to get a taste for what his workdays look like when he’s at the office and it has me feeling so appreciative of his hard work over the last year (and for a job that he can hold in this time of uncertainty). The new struggle is to keep Lincoln and Adelaide from “visiting Daddy” when I am otherwise occupied with prepping food, taking care of Westley, or just getting dressed. It is not uncommon for Lincoln to come in and tell me “guess who I just saw?” and report on an interruption to Ben’s most recent conference call.
Things working for me this week in quarantine
- Cooking! Making this healthy chicken enchilada soup on Wednesday for the whole family while my mom played with the kids in the basement was a high this week. With three little kids and Ben gone, I don’t do a ton of big meal cooking during the week. It felt really good to cook healthy food while listening to the kids play with my mom downstairs and then enjoy it with a lot of people I love.
- Running: I get in a mile run during Westley’s morning nap most days and it makes all the difference in my mood. I’m really missing group exercise classes at the gym but excited about learning how to push myself without awesome instructors.
- Bedtime affirmations: We had been doing affirmations for each child on the way to preschool for a few months and now that the drive isn’t part of our routine, I’ve been doing them right before I kiss them goodnight. Their smiles and satisfaction tell me that they’re making a difference.
- New audiobooks for the kids: The first few nights we struggled with bedtime and so on Wednesday, right before bed, I bought a new audiobook from audible for the kids. I told them if they got out of their beds for something other than going to the bathroom, it would tell me they were done listening to the book. We’ve had no more trouble with bedtime.
Things I’m struggling with
- A directly defiant child: I’m not sure if it’s quarantine, moving to my parents, or just the age of this child in general but one of my kids got much harder in the last few days. We had a full on meltdown because I asked for and then insisted shoes get put away after playing outside. I don’t like feeling like the mean parent but I am working hard on being firm while coming alongside my child to help them feel understood + seen. I’m diving back into all the parenting books over here.
- Not having a good idea of what the future looks like: It is hard to not know what next month will look like. Or the next. Or the next.
- Finding routine: It is hard to feel like this is a new normal. I know that we’ll all do better as we get into a rhythm and routine but actually implementing that is a bit tougher than I thought. I spent February working really hard to get some good things for me and my family in place and now I feel like I’m starting from scratch again.
Favorite Activities: lowest prep for the longest entertainment
- Cosmic Kids Yoga: We love Cosmic Kids Yoga all the time but we’ve been doing it even more during quarantine. The kids love the “Super Yoga” series right now and we paid for the app so Adelaide could do “Sleep Beauty” yoga. Best money we’ve spent in awhile.
- Virtual music class with friends: When we lived on campus our friend Rachel did the most fun music class so when she did it on facebook live (on her personal facebook page), the kids were SO excited to have music with miss rachel again. We have watched the replay already and I think it’ll be a regular part of our quarantine routine.
- Free the dinosaurs: I froze Lincoln’s mini dinosaurs in ice cubes on Monday and then let him chisel them out with a fork. It was a full 60 seconds of prep and 30+ minutes of entertainment for both kids. The eventually got a bowl of warm water and melted the ice to free the dinosaurs and were very proud of themselves.
Most used purchases
- Melissa and Doug Mega Coloring Pads: I’m not sure why these are better than regular coloring books but the kids have been LOVING these. One day they sat for almost two hours coloring together on their own pads. They also like to collaborate on one picture and they’re big enough they can each color different sections at the same time. I just went and ordered a couple more.
- This long line sports bra I bought last month has been on repeat. It is awesome. It has great support for running and new activewear always makes me more excited to work out.