May was our second full month of self-isolating at home, our second month of having Maeve/three kids, and the end of an unprecedented school year for the boys. In May I started to getting antsy to reclaim some time to myself and some predictability; that’s just what happens to me at about three weeks postpartum. As we head into June I’m happy to say that we’re seeing progress on both. I started this post during a few hours to myself at my parents’ house in Chandler. In the past couple of weeks Chris and I have both used the house as a quiet getaway to practice violin (Chris) and to write (me). We feel so lucky to be able to use it; I never would have predicted that we wouldn't have anywhere else to go. I'm so thankful for any time I get but also I would happily sit and write and work for eight hours a day a few days a week.
In May Maeve grew and grew and also started sleeping better, hooray! At eight weeks old Maeve is over 12 pounds (probably 13 by now!) and is wearing size three month clothes. She smiles and coos at us. I love her chubby cheeks and double chin.
Also this month we finally found somewhat of a rhythm with remote learning after doing very little remote learning since the beginning of staying at home. We're planning to keep up the routine since I signed each of the boys up for a virtual summer enrichment class (but I'm calling it camp!) for the month of June. I also ordered some workbooks from Lakeshore Learning that each will work on while the other is at "camp" since the class times are staggered. We picked up supplies from school for each of the boys' classes and the boys got excited about camp looking through the bags so that's a good sign.
I was able to start exercising again and that has felt so good. I started with gentle exercise like postpartum pilates and basic body weight exercises like squats, lunges, and modified push ups. Over the past two weeks I've returned to higher intensity workouts. I've done a handful of High Fitness cardio classes via Zoom and at-home Orange Theory work outs through the app. (Which reminds me I need to call Orange Theory and put my membership on hold!) I love feeling sore the next day after my workouts. I'm also needing to actively remind myself that I'm at the hardest phase of working out: getting back into it. I feel slower. I feel eager to see muscle tone return and to lose weight. Even though I want to see progress on these things I am appreciating my body and remind myself to be in awe of my body. The feel and shape of my body right now is a result of growing, birthing, and nursing a baby – an extraordinary feat! When I feel slow during a workout I remind myself that just showing up is something to be proud of and the more I show up the stronger and more fit I will feel.
A thought I had this month: We are delighting in having a baby in the house. Of course we delighted in having the boys as babies too but each experience has been different. With Dashiell we delighted in him and were navigating parenthood for the first time. With Cedric we delighted in him and were navigated having a toddler at the same time. With Maeve we are navigating being at home during a pandemic. Perhaps that makes her all the more delightful because of the uncertain/scary time we are living through. Maeve is a delight in all her sweet baby-ness and also because it's been a few years since we had a baby in the house, because growing our family to three kids was something I hoped we'd do but wasn't sure we would, and because we feel like we know what we're doing. A friend asked me if it's been overwhelming to have three kids and I can honestly say: no! (At least not right now.) There are still parenting frustrations but I think they are mostly the same ones we had before Maeve arrived. Like staying patient when the boys are super wild and helping them navigate strong emotions. With a baby it is hard to get a lot done like cleaning the house and the writing I want to do but I know that it's temporary. I wonder if parenting would feel somewhat overwhelming if we weren't staying home right now. If we were doing school drop off and pick up, soccer practice and soccer games, getting in and out of the car. Plus Chris is off work right now and if he was working, even if from home, I can see how I could feel overwhelmed. That will be my reality come July. And we won't have the public pool, trampoline parks, and summer camps I was counting on. (Assuming we are not ready to be out in the world yet.) Eek!
In thinking of the world beyond our home, May was a sad month for our country. The murder of Ahmaud Arbery was brought to the public's attention. George Floyd was murdered. Amy Cooper called the cops when Christian Cooper asked her to leash her dog. I'm percolating words for a post dedicated to being anti-racist and what I'm learning about white privilege, white supremacy, my part in it, and what actions I am taking/want to take. If you are white I would encourage you to read this post about becoming anti-racist, to follow Layla Saad and The Conscious Kid on Instagram, and to donate money to black-led organizations working for change (the blog post I link to lists some; I donated to the Minnesota Freedom Fund). I would also encourage you to have conversations about what is happening with friends and family.
Reflecting on the past month feels like such a good practice right now. It's easy to forget what day it is, how many weeks we've been home, or what happened last week. I'm glad to have a little time capsule to remember this time, both the delightful and the sad.
Good things in May:
+ Mother's Day. Chris picked up delicious breakfast take-out for me. The boys made me cards and I was gifted a pair of Airpods which I am obsessed with. Now using earbuds with a cord feels so restrictive.
+ Weekly Instagram Lives with Erica. We've been doing this since March but I continue to enjoy it so much. It's wonderful to see Erica, I love the conversations that we're having, and we've received such great feedback from listeners who tune in. You can watch past conversations on our IGTV. (Not all of our past conversations are saved because Instagram only recently made it so longer Lives can be saved.)
+ Overnight date nights. We've been trading weeks for cousin sleepovers with my sister in law. Having one or two nights with just Chris and Maeve at the house is so restorative. I especially love the breakfast + walking dates that we have on mornings when the boys aren't home.
+ Becoming documentary, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Watching the Becoming documentary made me feel hopeful as I watched someone who is dedicating their life to lifting up others and believes in hope. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee has become the show I watch while rocking Maeve in the middle of the night after nursing and swaddling her.
+ Banana ice cream. Oh my gosh I am obsessed with this! We add cocoa powder and peanut butter and I find it as satisfying as ice cream.
+ Created weekly menu template for Instagram Stories. This may seem like a minor thing but it was so invigorating and I am so proud. It was so satisfying to have a creative idea and see it through to reality. I have loved sharing daily "three things" in Instagram Stories and thought that sharing my weekly menu could be fun for me and others. So I figured out how to create a design for Stories (I used an app called Canva), went through a few iterations of the design, and then shared it. I find creating a weekly menu satisfying and it's fun to share it and I have loved seeing others share their weekly menus. It's also a great way to get dinner ideas. If you want to use the template I have them saved to a Stories highlight.
+ Video chats. I use Marco Polo to keep in touch with friends and family but it was so fun this month to have two real-time video chats. I had a Sunday brunch chat with two of my best girl friends who live in Austin. Then I had an Enneagram Club chat with my sister and cousin to discuss our types and our husband's types. I'm still learning about the Enneagram and I don't love it as much as I love Gretchen Rubin's Four Tendencies but personality chats are always fun. (On the Enneagram I'm a 1 and I think Chris is a 5 in case you are curious). Both were so fun and it felt good to connect.
May goals check in:
+ Ease into exercise. Yes! For the second week in a row I've done three workouts of High Fitness/Orange Theory. I do not enjoy working out at home as much as being with people but it feels good to show up and get sweaty.
+ Buy and deliver gifts to the boys' teachers. I emailed Target gift cards during Teacher Appreciation Week. This week I'm also planning to drop off a houseplant, homemade cookies, and a card to Dash's teacher.
+ No added sugar. Went pretty well. I did eat added sugar on a few occasions but overall avoiding added sugar pointed me to healthy, whole foods, and made me feel good.
+ Figure out distance podcasting. Nope. I know this is one of those things that if I would just DO IT it wouldn't be that hard but with such limited time I'm having a hard time prioritizing this.
+ Record a new podcast episode with Erica. Also no.
I hope you found good things in May, friends.