May 20, 2020

What's Your Life Like Right Now?

Photo from our front porch session with Kayla from Truly Photography

In response to a recent post on one of my favorite blogs (I started this post several weeks ago but never finished. Oops!), I wanted to document answers to the questions in the post. (Here is the link to the post!)

COVID-19 has been such a remarkable time, and I know it's something our children and grandchildren will be curious to know about. Stephen mentioned recently that one of his ancestors died during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. We looked through Family Search and ended up calling his mom. It was fascinating to learn about her family history and to learn about her grandfather who did, indeed, die in 1918 during the pandemic (from "flu and pneumonia" is what one of the family records said). He fell ill and died within days. He had even hiked Mount Timpanogos a few days before he died!

Anyway, back to the Cup of Jo questions:

Where are you in the world?

We live in Murray, Utah and have been blessed/lucky enough to be able to stay home.

Are you living solo or with other people (and if so, with whom)?

People living in our home right now: My husband (Stephen), our baby (Charles), and one of my brothers (Spencer), who recently returned home from serving a mission for our church in El Salvador and Belize.

Are you working or passing the time in other ways?

We spend our days working, taking care of Charlie, and going on walks. When we can, we try to squeeze in some exercise, house cleaning, and maybe some time together after Charlie goes to sleep.

Another thing I've been doing is cooking/baking. I really enjoy cooking and don't do it enough in my normal life. It's been really fun to have Sunday dinners at home, and I've used that as an opportunity to try new recipes. Some things I've made for the first time during quarantine include: cheesecake, buttermilk biscuits, rhubarb cake (first time cooking with rhubarb!), banh mi sandwiches (first time making a Vietnamese dish), sugar-free baby muffins for Charlie, and DIY baby food pouches (mostly fruit/veggie pouches and a savory chicken/carrot/potato/rice pouch last week).

We also planted a garden last week (tomatoes, sweet peppers, spicy peppers, zucchini, baby butternut squash, herbs, and sugar baby watermelon), and Stephen has been working on cutting down tree branches, so we've all been spending time in the backyard lately. We cleaned the patio off in April and have had dinner outside a few times, and it's been really lovely.

What's hard right now?

Work! I'm not going to lie: balancing our time right now is HARD. We are SO grateful and SO blessed to be able to both work from home. (And we're glad that Spencer was able to start a job a few weeks ago where he can also work remotely!)

Stephen and I have divided the workday into shifts. Stephen works from 7am-12pm, and I'm the primary person on Charlie duty during that time. I try to work when I can, but if I'm being honest.... It's hard to get things done on the computer while being engaged with him. I like taking calls or meetings during the morning shift, because I can multi-task with Charlie. I save tasks that require focus for the afternoon.

Around noon, we go on a walk, get Charlie some lunch at our neighborhood school, and come home to eat lunch together. Then, it's my turn to work from 12(ish)-5pm. I take a few breaks during my "shift" to nurse, and I work as fast and frantically as I can otherwise. It can be a bit hectic to meet deadlines, but we're doing our best. Sometimes, we have to work after Charlie goes to bed to keep up, but we're making it work.

Truly, we are grateful that we have the luxury of staying home when so many people -- including my parents -- have still had to go to work in person every day during this pandemic.

Another thing that has been really difficult is navigating family dynamics when we have different standards for social distancing. Some of our family members still have to work every day. Other family members aren't taking social distancing as seriously as we are. It's hard to explain why we're being as strict as we are, and I know there have been hurt feelings. I hope and pray that things will calm down soon and that we can work on rebuilding family connections.

It's been really hard to not let anyone hold Charlie, especially his grandparents. Thankfully, Charlie has been able to at least SEE his grandparents during this time -- either six feet away or via technology (FaceTime, Zoom, Duo, etc.). He is such a people person, and I know he has missed interacting with others. We were able to join in last week on a daycare Zoom call, which was SO fun. And we've been able to keep in touch with other family members through technology also, which we're grateful for. I really hope that things have eased enough by Charlie's birthday (6 weeks away: OMG!!) that we will be able to gather with at least some family members to celebrate him!

And oh, my gosh. Baby sleep is hard right now. We have not done well with sleep training, and things are rough right now! Charlie is teething, which we think is hurting his nighttime sleep. I think he might also be in the middle of another mental leap (I need to check his Wonder Weeks timeline.), so that might be part of our problem also. He was never good at napping (except at daycare sometimes... IDK how they do it.), and it's hard to get him to nap for longer than 30-40 minutes right now. Often, the only way he'll nap is if we take him on a stroller walk. On the bright side, we're walking a lot more than usual. Lol.

What's bringing you joy (making, baking, playing, watching, etc.)?

Even though some things have been hard, we really do feel so blessed.

The biggest silver lining is being home with Charlie full-time. It was SO hard to leave him at daycare when I had to go back to work! Charlie was three months old when he started daycare full-time. He was 8.5 months old when the pandemic started, and he is 10.5 months old now.

That means he has spent about half his life with me home full-time and half his life going to daycare. It's not in the cards for me to be a stay-at-home mom at the moment, and I truly do enjoy and value my job. But right now, I'm getting the best of both worlds: being home with my baby while still getting to work full-time. I do not take this for granted and often feel guilty for how much I'm loving this time at home.

When we first went into lockdown, Charlie was on the verge of crawling. Within the first week of quarantine, he had mastered crawling and by that Saturday, he had moved to standing in his crib and standing and scooting along the furniture! He now crawls super fast, zips up the stairs, stands and scoots like he's racing someone, and we are so grateful to have been here for so many fun milestones! He babbles all day long, he waves goodbye (Or "Bah," as Charlie says it), and is just such a joy to be around.

Another thing that's bringing us joy is spending time outside.We live for our daily (sometimes multiple times a day) walks. It's wonderful to be in the sunshine, and it makes me wonder why I don't normally take a lunchtime walk when I'm at work. It's something I need to bring with me when we move back into post-COVID office routines. The weather has changed while we've been in quarantine, and we've enjoyed almost all of spring and are now about a month away from the start of summer. Charlie experienced grass for the first time on St. Patrick's Day and enjoys spending time outside, crawling in the dirt (and trying to eat it. lol), climbing on top of yard waste piles, etc.

We also are a household of introverts, so the stay at home order was probably not such hard news for us as it may have been for others. Turns out we enjoy being home, even when we're being "forced" to. Ha. I've discovered that I still love my husband after spending 24-7 with him (even though we may or may not get a little impatient with each other sometimes. It's the nature of being home together 24-7, I guess.), but he's still my favorite person and the one I'd choose to be quarantined with over and over again. And while we would love to be able to gather with loved ones, as long as I have my boys, I'm happy here at home.

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