Thursday, April 2, 2020

Life at Home and What I'm Taking with Me

It's Wednesday night! (Or it was when I typed this!) There are only two days left in the week! Not that that means much anymore.

I was talking to a friend today about how strange weekends are right now. They're different, because I don't have work calls and emails and am no longer shuttered in my bedroom, but the respite from the busy, the return to the haven of home- that is no longer their hallmark. We can't go anywhere. We aren't spending any money since James's business is closed. There are no activities to either go to or take a break from. It's just two more days at home together when we've already had all the days at home and together. Which I think is why teaching my two classes last weekend felt so personally powerful.

They were grounding. They gave my "days off" structure and purpose and my family something to work around. We don't have much to work around right now. I ended up with two blog readers joining my barre class on Sunday (hi Amanda and kt!!), several family members joining both my yoga and barre, and even an old high school friend (Class of '01!) joining my barre class from Sarajevo! It was awesome and I loved every minute. I hope you are all able to have something for you that you're excited about. And if you want to join my yoga or barre class offered through my little studio here in Fort Worth, we have new "online" pricing.

Sign up at! I can't play music because Zoom can only transmit sound from one source, but my playlists are all on my Spotify profile is chiclaw08 if you want to play one. And, if you like, please send me an email (lagliv @ gmail dot com) to let me know you're there! I got some great comments and questions after my last classes and I so appreciate the feedback. I can also send you a link to the class once it's over to watch anytime over the next 3 days, so if the class time doesn't work for you, that's no longer a deal breaker. Teaching online has been a whole new adventure for me and I'm very, very thankful for it.

Slept through class; going to try to attend next time.

We continue to stick to our routine of James running the family home school and me working in our bedroom and occasionally popping out to say hi, offer help, and/or get more snacks. Frankly, it all continues to go much smoother and happier than either of us predicted. As always when we're on vacation or doing anything where our family unit is isolated, I'm deeply grateful we have the three of them.

Their combination of personalities and age gaps mean they don't really fight and they're like their own little pack, keeping each other entertained during their school days and "recess," providing commiseration and support during chores and other more mundane parts of the day, and just giving each other live-in playmates and friends. They're fun and funny and I'm so glad to be sheltering with them (and James!) in our pod.

And this one, obviously.

On Sunday Claire decided to teach Cora how to roller skate. Cora took to it in her usual style of just taking off, zooming forward with a smile and then falling all over the place.

At one point she took another tumble and a neighbor opened her window to call out, "You can do it Cora!"

"I know!" Cora yelled back cheerfully, "I'm just having some issues."

And I thought (1) how perfectly Cora; and (2) what a fantastic answer. The confidence, the acknowledgement of the encouragement, the correct perspective of these temporary setbacks, the absolute certainty that she's GOT THIS when she really doesn't have any reason to think so yet. Perfection and a worldview I wish she got from me, but instead, I'm going to try to get from her.

James introduced the kids to frisbee golf this week and it REALLY took off. Now on every school break and every night after dinner, they're out, climbing around the front and back yards throwing their frisbees towards things. Today, during one of my many conference calls, I looked up to see Landon jumping off the roof, where apparently he'd had to climb to get the best angle for his next shot.

Later, during yet another call, I looked up to spy this excellent little view from my master bedroom windows.

Working from home has its perks.

Speaking of home, as we go another week of paying our housekeeper to shelter in place at her home, the kids got to clean the bathrooms again! So much learning and growing happening in here.

On the learning front, our school is slowly rolling out some telelearning. Cora got to have her first Zoom conference call today with her teacher and classmates, and let me tell you, a Zoom call with a bunch of Kindergartners who haven't seen each other or their teacher since the first week of March is CHAOS. Sweet, glorious, adorable chaos.

When they weren't all waving at each other, they were all talking at once. They were encouraged to bring a stuffed animal to the meeting and Cora brought Maggie. I'm not sure anyone realized she wasn't a stuffed animal.

In arts and crafts, Landon made an iPhone out of perler beads since he doesn't have a real one (we are VERY into perler beads right now) and has taken several calls on it.

Recognize any apps? Its lifelike qualities are now highly coveted by his sisters and he's received many requests to play with it since the ironing.

(From left to right: Calculator, Phone, Weather, Photos, Safari, Messages, [2 games James has but I don't], Contacts, Notes.)

On Tuesday night we put Maggie in her party hat and loaded the kids in my car to drive by a friend's house down the street to honk and wave at their youngest for his 6th birthday. It was very cute and hopefully still felt a little special for the birthday boy! We have 5 more friends with April birthdays, and since I expect that to be the only reason I'll be in my car for the next month, I left the party hat on the gear shift. This is now the birthday honk mobile.

Maggie continues to love shelter-in-place and generally lives on her blanket under my table desk.

She opens her eyes every now and then to make sure I'm still there and she's still helping, and then it's back to sleep. Her snores are melodious and comforting. I am really going to miss her when I have to go back to work for real.

Her real bed is in the sun room. On Saturday I moved it into the TV room so she wouldn't accidentally mosey across my yoga class while I was filming, but when I moved it back, she spent the rest of the day searching for that illusive and apparently superior second bed.

She wandered the house until she was exhausted, napped hard, and then woke up and wandered again. I think now, six days later, she has FINALLY forgotten that second bed ever existed and can rest peacefully in the original. It's a confusing time.

I spent some time Sunday night, buoyed with the joy from my yoga and barre classes and the connections I got to make and reestablish over the Zoom video links, thinking about my bright spots right now and what I want to take with me when life picks back up and we reenter society. Because we're in a position to find a lot of bright spots: Our kids are old enough to stay occupied during the day for long periods of time so I can work and James can have calls when he needs (i.e., we don't have toddlers!). James is effectively unemployed and can (and has!) dedicate all of his time to the kids and our home schedule while I work. I can work from home 98% as effectively as I can work from work. My paycheck is steady and unthreatened, and being done with school loans and daycare means that James's $0 Spring, while stressful for our financial plans and sad for what he was building and what he loves to do, doesn't send me into a tailspin of financial panic. We are here and home and safe; our jobs are not putting us in danger or on the front lines like so many others. We are at ages and life stages where life is normally REALLY busy- it's great! but it's busy, and only going to get busier, but suddenly now it's not. It's like returning to our schedule when we had babies and were so home-based, but now we get to do it with bigger kids. So, now that this temporary life is less jarring (the return from vacation was HARD), I'm focusing hard on the good we're finding and growing within our walls.

A few things I've found:

- I've learned so much more about each of my kids in the last 3 weeks. I know them well, but I know them in the situations I experience with them. Seeing them doing schoolwork, seeing them on their class Zoom calls, seeing them talk about their work with their dad and each other- these are different facets of them and I'm thankful to get a pause at nearly 13 and 10 and 6.5 to get to truly SEE them.

- Slower pace and schedule. Without swimming and coaching and work commuting, we've been eating dinner at 6 (normally 7:30) and heading back outside to sit and play until sunset. There's Frisbee and rollerblading and long walks and it's really nice. It's not scheduled family time (which I love! sometimes you have to schedule it to make it happen!), it's just, time.

- Togetherness. This could turn on us at some point, but one thing that's surprised both James and I the most is how smoothly it's been for the five of us to spend literally all our time together, particularly after returning from a long trip where we had already spent all our time together. Instead of grating on each other, it's like the edges get smoother as we go. I'm thankful for the extra time - months worth of extra time - that we've all gotten to be together.

- James and I. Without going into details, it has surprised me to find that the last few years of marriage have been, by far, the hardest. There have been really great wonderful high moments and also by far our lowest moments, with a steady in between that is both comforting and occasionally confusing. But the last four weeks of constant togetherness without work or schedules or anything external have been really, really wonderful. For us. Not the outside world, it's sad and and scary and rage-inducing still. And the financial stress and sadness of his business is real and shared by us both. But between the two of us, it is smooth and happy and there is so much more ROOM to find the happiness that we know even in our low points exists between us. And while part of that has come from some hard work we've done on ourselves over the last two years, I didn't realize how much our lives- the day to day hustle and grind and the "ships passing in the night" that we sometimes are - wears on us. So I'd like to take some of this space we're making for each other forward with us, and my renewed realization of how important it is to find the time to make it.

We are, obviously, in a very privileged position to be able to find some good in this and that's why I don't want to waste it. We've also been finding room in our budget- through categories we're not spending in right now- to support local charities helping those who are hurting. We've been talking about them with the kids and have donated extra to Meals on Wheels and the Tarrant County Food Bank so far.

Two other little positives: I've been able to blog WAY more (11 posts in March! These days I've been averaging about 3), which I've really enjoyed. And I've been getting more sleep. We go to bed about 10:30, I read until 11, and I'm up at 7 and logged into my computer at the foot of my bed by 7:10. My entire "get ready for work" routine consists of brushing my teeth and considering a change of pajamas. I miss the interaction of work and will be glad to return to it, but for now, I'm enjoying the fact that I never wear a bra and haven't done my hair since we left CuraƧao.

And with that, I'm going to bed. I hope that you all are safe and healthy. And if you can't find any good (as I would have struggled to do at almost any life stage prior to now), that's okay too. Sometimes survival is what you've got and an eventual return to real life will be your deep breath. Be well,


  1. FYI, in case you weren't already aware, it's possible James is eligible for unemployment benefits under the new federal stimulus bill. It extends benefits to self-employed people. See Section 2102(a)(3)(A)(ii)(II) of the CARES Act, which is here:

    1. This literally never occurred to me (I am the worst swim school general counsel) and I am so thankful that you posted! We've spent some time tonight reviewing the legislation and Texas Workforce Commission website and THANK YOU for making us to do so. This will be an enormous relief to James, mentally and emotionally, and to his business.

  2. More than unemployment, he should consider an EIDL and PPP loans. (of course, I'm not your lawyer... you know...)

    1. Thank you MA! We are now researching all the things because I AM a lawyer and none of this occurred to me. As always, I am so thankful for my blog readers!

  3. I love your posts always and I love how you are focusing on the positive and the good.

    1. Thank you Emily, I really appreciate that!! I hope you are doing well,

  4. Esther Perel did an episode of couples therapy during the quarantine that's really interesting -

  5. so nice to hear such a positive post! I oscillate between highs & lows and your barre class was definitely a high. (a low was when my Wednesday morning was derailed and I wasn't able to watch the Zoom link before expiration, but I get to do a new one on Sunday! positive outlook!) a nice reminder that there are definite silver linings to this craziness that I can appreciate.

  6. I just made coffee to make reading your post even more enjoyable, I am selfishly happy you're posting more as I Always enjoy reading your blog :-) I am glad you are able to find out positive things, and I applaud you for being so efficient : I hate working from home and I am not productive AT ALL!

  7. Don't you feel fortunate that you still like your husband? I know I do. After so many years of medical training I feel like I'm FINALLY getting to spend some much needed time with my family. Trying to enjoy it before the virus forces us to go back to working intern hours.

  8. I'll second the highlight of the barre class. :) As well as appreciating your more frequent posts and a sense of community far richer that I could have ever imagined during this pandemic.

  9. That landon kid seems pretty amazing

  10. That landon guy seems like the best kid in the whole world