Tuesday, April 7, 2020

600 Days Later, April is Here

I know everyone has already said this, but March was absolutely 600 days long. On March 1st James was in College Station for a swim meet and we were preparing to leave the country, then we left the country for 9 days, then we were back and the whole world was different, and then we spent 457 days at home. I don't know how, but the numbers check out. And now it's April! April is one day shorter than March, so these next 593 days should really fly by.

Long bike ride with PE Coach James a few days/weeks ago

As an ancient poet once said, "April Showers Bring May Flowers" and so the showers have begun. It rained every day for the last half of last week and we've discovered a leak in our room and two in some mysterious place that make the framing of our doors wet (except the water is not coming through the doors). It says something about the ownership of an old home that we're like oh, huh, well let's see if that resolves itself on its own. This approach seems to work at least half the time (see all the giant cracks in our ceiling and walls, except no you can't, because they've disappeared again) and I'm pretty sure that same leak appeared in our sun room 3 years ago only to disappear until last Friday. I love our house, but she's 71 years old and she's quirky.

Speaking of houses that might leak in the rain, the kids built a big fort in the sun room on Saturday and asked to sleep in it that night. I told them no because James and I had a very important date to watch the finale of Ozark after they went to bed and they definitely can't overhear that, so they asked if they could remake it in the girls' room on Sunday night and sleep there. Figuring there was no way they'd actually last the night and shelter-in-place is the perfect opportunity to give it a try on a school night, we said sure.

And so they rebuilt it - bigger and better, with 3 bedrooms and toy nooks and who knows what all, and spent pretty much all of Sunday there.

And then all of Sunday night.

I was skeptical, but when I woke up at 7 Monday morning, all of the house was still silent and sleeping. And when I was making my tea at 8, I finally ran in to check on them, concerned they might have knocked themselves unconscious in the night and they sleepily emerged from their den. Looks like we don't need that third bedroom anymore, so while I'll miss all our blankets and chairs, I'm super excited to turn Landon's room into a home gym and yoga studio.

So remember last week when I was like everything is going pretty well and some things are even very good? And they were! And they are! Except I cried on Friday for no reason except that I was sad and lonely in my house where I live with four other people who never leave. I think my kids are more introverted than I thought. They're VERY social, they love people, and they live their lives with a zest and exuberance that brings me great joy, but they are fine, seemingly TOTALLY FINE, with our little family being their whole village right now. They miss their friends, but their cups are full. They have each other and they have James and me and though I'm keeping a close eye, they seem steady and happy and living a strange version of their very best lives. And James- my introverted introvert with occasionally crippling social anxiety- he is GREAT. He misses coaching, he has stresses and worries about his business, but his cup runneth over with peace, joy, and social distancing protocols. And then there's me. My inner battery is so low you'd have to plug me into a crowded happy hour for two hours just to get it to turn on. As I tried to explain to James, this is like him at a cocktail party for TWENTY-ONE STRAIGHT DAYS. I am a shriveled and hollow husk of myself and though my family can sustain me for a very long time, March was 600 days long and I need fresh connections.

Even Maggie needs me to get out more

Luckily, I had my two Urban Yoga Zoom classes over the weekend and that helped a lot. I think my body craves my old schedule and structure as much as my soul craves the social interaction. Having my weekend days anchored by teaching my 9:30 Saturday yoga and 1:30 Sunday barre is tremendously helpful. I have to prepare- building and practicing new yoga sequences, creating playlists, ensuring my family will be out of the living room for the designated time block. I get to connect as people log in, and I have to sweat and move and workout and it's so, so good for me. I've been joined by friends across the US (and world!), distant family members, blog readers (thank you!!), and more and I felt much more steady and centered after each one.

Maggie helps me practice and is a real value-add, as you can see.

I burned 600 calories reaching my barre class on Sunday which is probably exactly how many calories are in a single cookie in the batch that a very sweet blog reader and now yoga/barre participant sent me in a care package that made my whole Friday.

I do love the connections that are being forged while we all work through this together, apart.

Other things that have happened in the last 5 days as evidence by my phone's photo roll:

James has been doing yoga with me. He's significantly more flexible than I am, which is annoying, but I know more about the poses than he does, which helps the balance of power. Can you tell we normally don't can't work out together?

Our nanny dropped off the two booster seats she kept in her car to pick up the girls from school because (sob) she is now moved out of her TCU dorm for the semester. We miss both our nannies- and the reasons we used to need them- very much, but are glad they are safe at their homes across the US.

Maggie spotted the strange new dog bed in the foyer and spent some time trying to figure out how it worked.

We continue to pay our weekly housekeeper to stay home with her family, so the kids continue to get extra home cleaning education! In addition to their regular chores, we've mastered bathrooms, floors, and changing bed sheets, so this week it was baseboards and door frames! Something we haven't done in several years it appears, because whoah, did they need some attention.

Last Friday I had the opportunity to schedule a curbside pickup of my IT equipment and some print outs I needed from work. It was nice to be alone in my car for 15 minutes (who knew that was a luxury) and REALLY nice to upgrade my plastic party folding table home office set up.

I'm like a real lawyer now. I also ordered a smaller dog bed for Maggie that fits perfectly under my desk. It's important that my only colleague be comfortable during this time.

Speaking of Maggie, we've been going on a LOT of walks up and down our empty street.

Cora is becoming quite the confident roller skater and Maggie is exhausted and would like us all to leave her alone.

"Seriously. Stop involving me in this."

She hates her baths, but tolerates them only because she LOVES being wrapped in a towel at the end. If I don't wrap her tightly enough or long enough, she keeps trying to duck her head under a towel on the floor until I fix it.

Her other favorite part is when her bedding, which we wash every time we wash her, comes out of the dryer. She rolls herself up like a bulldog burrito and sleeps for HOURS until everything is cold again. Cracks us up.

This week's food:

Saturday: Garlic Herb Spaghetti with Chicken Meatballs. SO GOOD. We already love these meatballs (see Wednesday's recipe, which is one of our favorites) and then I saw this variation on Lindsay's amazing food blog and decided to give it a try. I doubled the recipe, used wine instead of water (added in after the butter, garlic, and lemon saute step, and allowed to cook down before the parsley and spinach step), and did everything else as described. We loved it and need more non-red-sauce pastas in our life.

Sunday: Chili (I add yellow and orange bell pepper and carrot) and Mac & Cheese. Somehow we keep not fitting this into our menu, but chili and mac & cheese is a magical combination and should always be cooked separately and then served in the same bowl. Tonight is the night!

Monday: Greek Gyro Plates (Gyro meat, tzatziki, and frozen naan from Trader Joe's), sliced tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, red onion, kalamata olives, and chunks of feta. Oven fries, from frozen.

Tuesday: Dorito Taco Salad. (We skip the Catalina, sub in a splash of Italian dressing, and use the Trader Joe's Nacho Cheese Chips. This is my kids' favorite salad; they don't even seem to notice it's still mostly lettuce.)

Wednesday: Chicken Meatballs with Pepper and Orzo. Family favorite. I doubled the meatballs Saturday night so we could make this on Wednesday. I use ricotta to mix with the orzo and then serve the sauce and meatballs on top. It's so good.

Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken Enchilada Chili. A tried and true family favorite. Delicious and super easy and exactly what you need on a Thursday.

Friday: Homemade Pizza. Again. The kids have declared the "make your own pizza and watch a movie on Fridays" to be a sacred Shelter-in-Place tradition.

Saturday: Out. Curbside takeout from somewhere delicious with food I don't know how to make. This once weekly takeout treat is something I look forward to the moment our last takeout meal is over (which was last Thursday when we got Thai on a whim and it was very wonderful and also a long time ago).

Sunday: Easter! We were supposed to be in Houston! There will be brunch, probably, but I'm also teaching my barre class (1:30 central time! come join me!), so there will not be mimosas until after that. Which is for the best, really, as we have to parent all day. I might try this new carrot cake recipe (longtime favorite carrot cake recipe here), but I don't yet know what we're having for dinner. It's a weird holiday this year.


  1. Thanks for sharing your meal planning and recipes :) I made the chicken meatballs with peppers and orzo for the first time on Monday night and it was a hit.

  2. Thanks for posting! Your posts always bring me such joy especially now!

  3. Don't remember if I sent this before or not: information onSBA loans, payroll protection, etc. A jumping-off point, and for us, if we're disciplined, mostly a reduction of taxes instead of actual cash-in-hand, but it's fun to dream.James can get a rebate on taxes he pays related to the swimm school (he's self-employed, right?) Hope it's helpful--it's a big site that requires lots of cruising.


    PS your blog helps keep some us us SANE. Thank you.I wanna blanket fort, though... We in CA can't get out as much as you guys, and this week it's supposed to be TOTALLY indoors (trying to really flattern the curve here.The mayor is recommending Navy calisthenics (sp?) and eating off the stockpile instead of going to the store AT ALL. Yikes.

  4. US EXTROVERTS ARE SO NOT OKAY!!!!! Zoom does not replace in person contact.