Hi friends, how are you? These are weird and scary times and I wanted to say hi. There's so much uncertainty and change related to the coronavirus pandemic and my anxiety is certainly higher than it's been in months. It's an especially weird time for us because we also have this unknown of when we'll be adding a fifth family member and how life will change after that. So it feels especially hard to plan right now which is challenging for me.
Life went from feeling pretty normal at the beginning of the week to feeling eerie as we headed into the weekend. Empty shelves at the grocery store, reading more news, and then the email we received on Friday announcing the closure of Gilbert Public Schools "until further notice" drove home the big changes we'll face as a family. I'm happy that our schools have closed because we should be taking measures to slow the spread of this disease. Selfishly I also felt disappointed for a while because we had so been looking forward to several weeks of having the boys in school while Chris and I snuggled our new baby girl during his parental leave.
But soon my optimist and planning brain kicked into gear. We've started making a homeschool schedule and finding online homeschool resources (please share any that you have!). We are so fortunate to have a very secure source of income from Chris's job plus the fact that he will soon be home on parental leave for 12 weeks (and maybe home more depending on the work from home situation of his employer this summer?) and so I'll have help managing the boys. We also have Chris's parents and sister here and my mom will arrive today. Although the situation of the world is scary and we don't know what's going to happen, at this point we are trying to see the "opportunity" in having mandatory family time that we otherwise wouldn't get.
To keep my spirits up here are the things I'm doing/thinking about doing:
+ Focusing on today. Uncertainty breeds anxiety and also offers no conclusion. Instead of letting my head spin about "what if" I'm trying to be present in what's happening right now today and then counting the things I'm grateful for.
+ Limiting my news consumption. I took all of Saturday off from the news and that was a really good thing for me. For now I feel like I know what I need to know: limit social interactions, wash your hands, school is cancelled. I might get any further updates via Chris since he's staying more connected to the news.
+ Keeping the house clean. Part nesting energy, part controlling what I can control I have been enjoying keeping the house very tidy. I'm washing laundry as soon as there's any in a basket, sweeping and mopping weekly, ending the day with a clean kitchen, and wiping down often-touched things (light switches, door handles) most nights with Lysol wipes.
+ Reaching out to friends. It feels especially important to stay in touch and check on each other right now. My book club is staying active in our private Facebook group where we're sharing homeschool ideas, keeping things lighthearted, and offering to run errands for anyone who needs it. I'm saying hi to friends and family more frequently on Voxer and Marco Polo and sending texts just to say "hi, how are you?" And I've really appreciated the messages like that sent to me.
+ Reading fun books. I have Red, White, And Royal Blue and Royal Holiday on request. Perhaps I should pick up where I left off in the Inspector Gamache series. I'd love to hear your recommendations for books that would be fun distractions right now.
+ Requesting lots of library books for the boys. My favorite way to do this is to open a tab with our library website and an Amazon tab. I search for a book on Amazon (like Extra Yarn, a favorite) and then see the similar books that Amazon recommends. I use those recommendations to get ideas for more library requests. It's like shopping but free! (For now our libraries are open but I'm preparing myself for that to change.)
+ At-home movie dates with Chris. We essentially watch no television and movies at home but it might be the perfect time to shake things up. Last night we watched Isn't It Romantic and it was just the escape we needed. What other great comedies have we missed in the past five years that we could watch?
+ Planning homeschool. I love a plan and a schedule so collecting homeschool resources + activities and making a schedule calms my mind. Putting it all into action will be...interesting...and I'm sure there will be a lot of adjusting but the planning is fun at least. Our boys would have been on spring break through Monday so we're envisioning transitioning to a more homeschool schedule on Tuesday.
+ Getting outside. The weather is beautiful right now and it's a great time to work in the yard, have a snack in the backyard, and go for an evening walk. We turned over our winter garden and plan to plant our spring garden this week. Garden Club will be one of our homeschool activities.
What about you, friends? How will you be keeping your spirits up? Sending love.