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Showing posts from April, 2020

Putting on a Dress

My daughter has the most amazing mop of curly, honey colored hair that I've ever seen.  The other day, I pulled it into a top bun, and she looked at herself in the mirror and said, "I'm a beautiful ballerina!"  Now, this is not the time and place to discuss imagery and marketing that promotes dismorphic body image in young girls.  This is a celebration of the utter girly-ness that my three year old exudes. When my first born was a baby, I lived around a lot of amazing friends that would give me bins and bags full of baby clothes.  There was a glorious mix of colors, patterns, and sizes, and my daughter dressed in the coolest unisex clothes I've ever seen.  I proudly threw her in a batman onesie and paraded her through Target, snickering at the old ladies that called her a boy.  "Oh, anyone can wear superheros.  Please don't gender my baby, Ma'am !" Well, that was all good and fine until my daughter could pick her own clothes, and from tha

Pandemic Vibes

Enough said.

Making Space for Weekends

On Saturday afternoon, I found myself sitting in a camping chair while my one year old chittered happily at the trees in her large outdoor play yard.  I watched my husband and three year old set up our tent in the back yard, and while I let the breeze blow across my face I didn't think about work or the global pandemic.  I took deep breaths and sat in the moment. This pausing in presence is something I'm actively working on, and it's tough .  Sure, maybe when you're on day three of a great vacation, and you're sitting on a beach listening to the waves crash along the shore, and you haven't checked your voicemail in days, it's easy to unplug, but how do we unplug when every day is the same?  How do you find relief when you can't go anywhere or escape in any physical way from where your life is right now? My three year old pulled the rain fly taught as my husband went around and adjusted the straps, staking them into the ground.  In minutes, a brigh

Pillow Architecture

I think my daughter is trying to self isolate from us. As I've mentioned, she's three and a half, and the more time we spend at home the more she tries to get away from us.  About a week ago, I was working at the kitchen table and noticed that she was moving from room to room in the house collecting pillows.  She pulled every pillow off my bed, the guest bed, and her bed, then she assembled the massive pile around our living room couch and came to ask me a question. "Can you build me a house out of pillows?" I got up from my desk, threw a glance at her sister (happily chewing a ball in her play area), and got to work. "Ok, do you want windows? Skylights?" I asked her, moving into full architect mode. I surveyed the amount of pillows, plus the geometry of the couch and our end table, and I built her a massive pillow house, complete with a cat door.  The pillow house lasted until bedtime, when everyone needed their pillows back, but I rebuilt it t

Rude Co-worker

Skype call rings Headset on Here you come again Purring loud Dirty feet Standing on my keys Lay all day In the sun Paying me no mind Call comes in Here you are Butt hole in my face

Quarantine Creativity

During our first month in quarantine, I stepped into the garage to drop off a paper bag filled with recycling and noticed the stacks of boxes piling up in the corner. "Hm..." I thought.  "I should make a robot." When my daughter woke up, I had her select a box, then we proceeded to cut out eyes and a mouth, adhere parchment paper behind the eye holes, and cover the entire box with cut out pieces of scrap paper bags.  Then, in typical Child A fashion, we painted the whole thing purple. The robot's previous life was as a diaper box, so when she (the robot is a girl, my daughter is obsessed  with gender) is upright, we are able to open the "doors" on her side to insert lights, stuffed animals, whatever my three year old wants.  She feeds magnet blocks and pieces of paper and random toy detritus into the slot mouth, and she talks to her robot constantly.  It was a nice out-of-the-norm moment for my squish that I hope she remembers over all the tim

Chalk Learning

Week One of self isolation, I took our white board and outlined the lessons for the week and day, giving my three (and a half) year old the letter of the day, a theme for the day, the number of the day, and the item we'd be exploring on our outside adventures.  Week Five of self isolation, and my main goal for the day is to not let her watch TV the entire day.  Trying to work full time during the day while being the primary daytime caregiver for these munchkins is rough, but I can't imagine actually worrying about school work on top of all that.  My daughter has had one Zoom meeting with her class, and I had anxiety for days about how I was going to fit that into my work meetings and her sister's naps. The parents out there that have suddenly become teachers are my heroes, as are the teachers that are trying to keep their students engaged in this virtual environment while also being on display to parents.  We're all just trying to figure this out, and I spin ou

Connecting through Isolation

One weekend night during this endless quarantine, after my husband and I put the kids to bed, we brought a laptop out into the living room and logged onto a Zoom meeting with three other couples and played Jackbox games for hours.  We are close to all of these friends, and have been for more than fifteen years, but as we live spread out all around the country, we've never done a digital hang out like this together.  Our situation is not unique.  People everywhere are connecting and reaching out to close family members and long lost friends alike.  In a time of extreme social isolation, we are all connecting to loved ones in new ways. Of course, everyone is wondering, "Why haven't I been doing this all along?"  That seems to be a questions that can apply to so many things.  I was recently chatting with a friend while on a walk, something I didn't do as much pre-pandemic, and I started thinking about the mental space that has been freed up in my life that has a

Take a Seat

I don't know about you guys, but dinner time in my house can go one of two ways: Scenario A:  Husband is outside in the golden afternoon sunlight with our two beautiful, happy daughters.  I gaze at them through the large windows into our back yard as I quietly saute vegetables, peaceful in my solitude and entertained by a podcast. Scenario B:  Husband is trying to keep Child B(aby) from throwing her milk cup on the ground for the eighteenth time while Child A screams at me that she wants a jelly sandwich, even though she asked for sausage, rice, and avocado, which is exactly what's on her plate. I've recently been having a lot of Scenario B's in my house.  I've deduced that it's a combination too much television and not enough outside time, but really I'm being too hard on myself and it's probably just that two tiny hungry monsters inhabit my house.  Recently, Child A was throwing a particularly aggressive tantrum about dinner, and she was boyco

Cat Pose

During normal times, we were all typically out of the house during working hours on most days.  I worked from home a couple days a week, and I'd notice the cats eyeing me curiously from their perches in the windows. "What's she  doing here?" they'd think. The two of them eventually got used to my days at home and would join me in the office, making sure to jump on my desk and put their butts in my face any time I got on a conference call. Then the world shut down and we started the new normal of being home all the time .  Our cats do not seem happy about it.  I hear of co-workers whose dogs are so happy to see their humans home.  They're getting extra walks and belly rubs.  Not our sullen cats.  They're stress eating, constantly running away from crawling, poking, drooling babies, and fighting more. That's true during the day, where they mostly hide from the chaos with my husband in our office, but at night they come out and sit on

Mom and the Bean Stalk

So, I may have inadvertently started a bean field in my back yard. The first week of self isolation at our house was blessed with beautiful weather.  I was scared and tired and trying to find ways to keep the girls entertained, so I had the brilliant idea of bringing out the kids' sensory boxes and water beads.  Our sensory boxes are filled with dried beans and bird seed, and try as I might, the older one doesn't play in the box so much as dumps it out all over the ground. In the past, we've played with this out in the driveway, and after I scoop back up most of the beans and seeds, the squirrels make short work of the rest.  Well, the last time we played with them was in our back yard, where the previous owners had a concrete pad for their hot tub.  For us, it's just a water table chalk sensory box pad, and after my older child dumped the beans and seeds everywhere, I just kind of....left it all there. I mean, I made an effort to clean some of it up, really ju

Self Care Means Showering

I'm not the kind of woman that has a ten step skin care routine, but there are plenty of serums and face masks tucked away in my bathroom cabinets.  Pre-coronavirus, I put on makeup, broke out the flat iron for my bangs, and used various face creams and moisturizers daily.  As I ease into my fifth week at home in isolation with my family, I have put on makeup exactly once, and that was only because my daughter and I were trying to pass the time by doing makeovers.  I have styled my hair with heat exactly no times, and days go by before I remember to put on moisturizer. The words, "self care," get thrown at us a lot to mean all sorts of things.  Take your stress away with a scented candle bubble bath for self care.  Do a face mask while riding an exercise bike and doing your taxes for self care.  After days and days (and days) at home, now, I have realized that self care for me really just means taking a shower.  It is down to its bare essentials now.  "Have I do

Letter to my Little Ladies

Girls, I don't know how to explain to you what has happened to the world.  You're too young yet to know what's going on, but I know you feel it.  You feel the anxiety that your dad and I exude.  You wonder why we're not going to the library, or to parks, or to your favorite place, Target. I'm sorry that I've cried in front of you many  times over the last month.  I'm also not sorry.  You should know that your mother is just a person, like any other person, that doesn't have things figured out and is scared and anxious.  Your dad and I are trying our best to make life normal for you, but when we're telling you that mommy can't do that right now, she's on the phone, or that daddy's door is closed because he's in a meeting, it makes us sad.  I know you're wondering why we're so distracted and not present with you.  I don't know how to make that better. All we can tell you is that we love you, and we're staying ho

Reader's Block

I'm a huge reader.  I set my Goodreads goal every year for 60+ books, and I usually surpass it in a mixture of ebooks, audiobooks, and comics.  I've always loved to read, but since the birth of my first daughter, curling up on the couch at the end of the night with my Kindle and a blanket is my preferred release from the stress of the day.  So, when I tell you that this global pandemic has put me off books, that is a big deal in my world. Night after night, I now come to bed hoping to curl into a book and relax, but more often than not I'm just scrolling through news stories.  The one thing that has filled the void left by books, for me, is podcasts.  I had a decent rotation of hosts I was invested in before coronavirus, and it's been fascinating to see those individuals now provide their content through the lens of a rapidly changing world.  They are recording at home, and their co-hosts are as well, so they're figuring things out and supporting their comm

Life in a Holding Pattern

My mother has always had to remind me not to wish my life away.  It's in my nature to always be thinking about the next thing and miss what's happening right now.  In grade school, I waited to go to college.  In college, I waited to start my working life.  When I got out of college, I felt like Josh (hubs) and I were living in a weird limbo between our adolescence and our adult life.  We were living , but how our life would take shape was still ambiguous.  I waited until the day we would get married, then I waited for the day we would get pregnant.  Then, I waited for the day we would have a second kid.  At every step, I was living in anticipation of my life, because the future wasn't set. What this pandemic has reminded me is that the future is never set.  It is never guaranteed. After the birth of our second daughter, I had this overwhelming sense that our family, and in turn our life, was complete.  Josh and I had jobs in companies at the top of our fields.  We li

The Kidz Bop Shuffle

"Ok, my scrum starts at seven and should be over by nine."  My husband is staring at his computer screen while I hover over him with a cup of coffee.  His calendar looks terrifying.  There is one thirty minute break in the entire day. "Good, good," I say.  "So, my team huddle at ten?" "Shouldn't be a problem." I take a deep breath and a long sip of my coffee.  It's six forty-five a.m. As parents all over the country (and globe) try to balance work and home life, I have to say almost four weeks in that we're still drowning.  My husband is a software developer for a large company, and both of our calendars are filled with meetings.  After we have a quick check-in with each other in the morning, the day becomes a constant tag team effort of managing our two tiny humans.  We walk around the house with Bluetooth headsets in, simultaneous bouncing a baby and helping a toddler go pee, or making endless (ENDLESS!) meals

All Came Tumbling Down

On Sunday, I was on a walk with my almost one year old, clutching a little escape and personal time in the endless stream of chaos that is being quarantined with my family for a month.  I've been struggling to get back into books, which is usually my sanctuary, but Samantha Irby's new memoir was out last week and I was jazzed to listen.  I put in my headphones, loaded the baby into the stroller, and began to un-clench the tension and stress of the day.  That is, until my phone died. There was no crash, no struggle, no final death screen.  My phone turned off and never turned back on.  It was an older model phone and likely needed to be replaced in the near future, but its demise was like a feather falling on a huge pile of stuff I was trying to hold up, and it all came crashing to the floor.  The sadness rolled over me in slow, building waves.  I got back to the house and told my husband what happened, and he spent a little while trying to fix it, reminding me we'd bud

Precious Resources

The general picture of a house cat is the image of a large, lazy kitty basking in a ray of sunshine, sleeping for hours on end, and begging for food.  Well, my cats do a fair amount of that, but they still retain some of their ferociousness, especially when it comes to toilet paper. You may be wondering, what does toilet paper have to do with cats?  Well, for years I would walk into our master bathroom to find a toilet paper massacre .  If a roll was left out, our Basil would rip it to shreds.  I would grumble as I picked up the scraps, just throwing away the entire roll as she'd decimated any usefulness.  The other day, though, as I was painstakingly rationing toilet paper to our three year old, I thought about all of those rolls lost to the cat and wondered how I would react now. I would completely lose my shit. The week before our family went into full social isolation, I found myself on a quick run to Target during lunch.  Wandering the isles, I randomly grabbe

Will the Pandemic Bring Back Blogs?

Over the last several years, I've seen bloggers reduce content, switch to YouTube or Instagram, or simply stop.  I was among them.  I ran a food blog for years, but after the birth of my first child, I couldn't keep up. Well, that life seems like another world as the cases and deaths from Covid-19, caused by the coronavirus that is tearing across the world, are rising daily.  The White House is telling America this morning to brace for their, "Pearl Harbor or 911 moment," and it's very scary. A lot of us who deal with stress by processing through our art are coming back to the internet, back to blogs.  Most of us are self quarantining, isolated inside our homes for weeks on end.  I'll be the first to say that I don't have a lot of free time in our endless confinement.  My husband and I are frantically trying to keep our two humans under the age of four happy, fed, and healthy.  We're four weeks in and going a bit stir crazy.  Every time we ge