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Author: dee

Summer At Last

We are a couple weeks into Summer now, which is feeling a bit more normal. School is done for the year and the stress of online learning is gone. For the kids, the days are much more relaxed – staying up late and sleeping in had already become the norm, but now I suppose it is a bit more acceptable. The only difference for them at this point is that I am home with them during the day instead of going to the office.

A few activities have slowly started back up. Caleb is back at piano lessons and has tutoring a few times a week. One-on-one tutoring has been much better for him than online summer school would have been. The other two kids don’t have much going on yet, but Evie will have volleyball camp in July and Fall team sign-ups will be starting soon. She’s scheduled for church camp if that gets to happen as well. Zach doesn’t have a lot of plans, but will be turning 15 in a couple weeks, so we have printed off the driver’s guide so he can start studying for his permit test. We’re also starting to look into job opportunities for him.

After three months of doing virtually nothing outside of the house, it seems strange now to be making all these plans. My calendar is suddenly starting to fill up again. We’re planning a trip to Texas soon, and while I thought I had a pretty blank calendar, I’m now having to try to schedule that around other things.

As of next week, my office is officially back to regular hours with most of the staff being on-site again. I still plan to work mostly from home for now, but will most likely be back at least one or two days a week. It will feel strange for a while.

Honestly, thinking about going back to a regular schedule after these last few months is giving me nearly the same amount of anxiety that I had when everything started shutting down in March. I feel like things are good right now. I’ve really settled into working from home. I love my home office and finally have it set up to function well. I’ve got my routine down and I’m feeling more on top of things for work than I have in a long time. I am also really enjoying having my evenings free to relax or work on projects around the house. I’ve never really been a fan of change. I guess it will just take a while to get used to our normal amount of crazy again.

In the meantime, I’ve still got a long list of projects to keep me busy and help squash the anxiety for a while. Hopefully, within the next couple of weeks I’ll actually be able to park my car in the garage. We’ve been in our house for a full year now. I suppose it is time to finish unpacking those boxes!

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Day 59

We’re on day 59 of social distancing – essentially two months at home. Our family started a couple days before the official orders came down. We didn’t have any plans really, and with all the uncertainty it seemed best to stay in for the weekend. Things are starting to open up again, slowly, and with restrictions. Some people are ready to just get out there and get back to regular life, but I’m feeling a little more reserved about it – not quite ready to jump back in.

Everything feels different right now. After two months of being home, slowing down, no rushed schedules, no running here and there, and only a very few obligations that require marking things on a calendar, I’m wondering what it will feel like to return to that life. I don’t miss the busy, the packed calendars, the late nights after practices and activities. But then I glance at the calendar and see that Caleb’s soccer tournament should have been this weekend and Evie’s volleyball season should be wrapping up and I am sad for their missed opportunities. I am sad that they are missing the end of their first year at their new schools. They are missing the fun part after working hard all year. There are no yearbook signing parties, no field days, no celebrations for a job well done. It will just be over.

The coming of summer, which normally is an exciting and welcome change every year, seems so anticlimatic this year. Camps the kids were looking forward to will most likely be cancelled, or at the very least be a very different experience than they were expecting. Staying home from school doesn’t seem very exciting as we’ve been doing that already. Travel plans are questionable as we wait to see where things stand in the world.

I feel myself being a little more moody lately, going up and down from day to day. Some days I’m all in and ready to make the best of the situation, and other days I just want to sit and get lost in netflix and video games and ignore the rest of the world. Once I get myself into a project or my work I’m usually good, it just takes a lot of effort to get going. My sense of motivation for the things I *should* be doing is really lacking most days. I’m sure the lack of urgency is a big factor there. There is no deadline. I don’t have a problem completing work tasks or even mowing the yard, but I can look at a sink full of dishes for two days before I decide to actually do something about it. I mean, no one is coming over to see how dirty my kitchen is anyway.

In all of this, I do find myself being so very thankful for the internet and all the amazing ways we have to communicate. I can’t imagine how much more isolated and alone we would all be feeling without the ability to connect to our people online. Between gaming, social media, video chats, sharing photos, streaming church services, and even classroom conference calls, we are all able to connect to the people and the things that are most important to us. Those are the things that are getting us through this strange time right now. As much as I enjoy being alone and having time to myself, I do have to say that I’m realizing just how important that human connection truly is.

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Quarantine Confessions

I’m sure by now we are all realizing life is a little different these days. Maybe some of you are like me and have found yourself doing things that you never imagined you would do. TikTok anyone?!?  Maybe you are even a little bit embarrassed about those things. Well, for the sake of solidarity, I’m going to share a list of things I’ve caught myself doing out of sheer boredom during this social distancing quarantine that I most likely would have never done otherwise.

  • I streamed the entire five seasons of Awkward in less than 2 weeks – often staying up until 2 a.m. or later to get in just *one more* episode.
  • After finishing Awkward, I started in on Vampire Diaries with the same late night streaming behavior. It is taking a little longer – I’m only on season 4, but Evie has now caught up with me so we are watching the rest of it together.
  • I insisted that my husband let me mow the lawn so I could count it as exercise even though he offered to do it instead. I also maybe told him not to buy the new deck he needs for the riding mower so I have to keep push mowing.
  • I’ve spent way too much money online shopping – mostly on clothing of the athleisure variety. I mean, if I’m gonna run and work out I have to look cute, right? Now to get back to those workouts….
  • I got sucked into TikTok watching videos of my nieces and then found myself still there more than two hours later scrolling through the “For You” feed of random people. I am now obsessed with and have followed the stream of a pet monkey who receives a ton of fan mail.
  • I bought my kid a new Nintendo Switch that he has been begging for since Christmas, then proceeded to “borrow” it all night and played Tetris 99 for over 3 hours until my hands were cramping and the battery died. I may have then bought another Switch the next day so I could have my own because TETRIS and who wants to share? (Thank you stimulus check!)
  • I actually said, “I’m so bored!” I honestly can’t remember the last time I uttered those words. Life generally keeps me so busy that boredom is not an option.
  • I got bored enough to fire up Fortnite on my switch and *tried* to play even though I had no idea what I was doing. Then my 8-year-old tried to teach me what to do and got embarrassed when I could’t hang. I think I’ll stick to Tetris…or maybe check out Animal Crossing.

I have actually spent some time doing things I’m not embarrassed about too. Some things I may even be a little bit proud of myself for doing – and finishing. I’m really great at starting projects, but not always so great at finishing them.

  • I started crocheting a “Quarantine Blanket” several weeks ago after the stay at home orders started and I finished it last night. It didn’t exactly turn out the way it was supposed to because I crocheted it way too tight to match the pattern and I ran out of one of my yarn colors a bit too soon. But, since the purpose was to use up yarn I already had, I can call it a success. I’m glad to finish it because I found another pattern I want to start on.
  • With the help of a tutorial I found on facebook, a bunch of old scrap material, and some leftover elastic (from back when I had a baby girl to sew cute things for), I sewed up some face masks for the family. Now that they are becoming mandatory to wear many places, I figured we should have some on hand.
  • I also completed a fun painting project. My friend posted about an online painting party she was hosting with some sample projects and I fell in love with one she posted of the Kansas City skyline. She put together kits with all the supplies needed. I missed the zoom party she hosted, but she included enough directions I could figure it out and I think it turned out really good!Painting of a heart with Kansas City skyline

There are a lot of other things I probably should be doing with my time, but it has actually been a lot of fun to just slow down and enjoy some silly time-waster type things.

So, what have you been up to?

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Well That Was Fun

So last week I posted I wasn’t feeling well. It started off slowly, just feeling tired and run down. Well, and needing to pee a little more frequently then normal. I didn’t think much of it – just blamed it on allergies wearing me down and maybe I was drinking more than usual.

Saturday I went to the store for some groceries and since things still weren’t feeling quite right I grabbed a bottle of cranberry juice thinking maybe I had the beginning of a UTI. I mean, I’ve never had one before that I can remember, but I’ve heard other people describe the symptoms and I thought that could possibly maybe sorta be what I’m experiencing. Maybe. I like cranberry juice anyway so I’ll enjoy it as a “treat” of sorts.

I started drinking the cranberry juice, mixed with a little sparkling water, and had finished off the bottle by Sunday evening. I was really wiped out that night. I was having some pain in my lower back and crashed on the couch for a couple of hours. I thought maybe it was just a sugar crash from the juice. After eating Keto for so long, flooding by body with sugar can have that effect. I love a good nap, but it is odd that I actually fall asleep in the evenings any more.

I made it through the next couple of days, forcing myself to drink as much water as possible and struggling through the things I had to get done. I thought about calling the doctor a few times, but I really hate going to the doctor and with the whole COVID-19 thing, the last thing I want is to be exposed to the virus because of a doctor’s visit.

By Wednesday, I was getting pretty uncomfortable. I was exhausted. My lower back was hurting. I was still experiencing some nausea and nearly every trip to the bathroom (like every five minutes) was getting more painful. After a text convo with my mom I finally gave in and called the doctor.

Luckily, my doctor was willing to see me via a telemedicine visit. I didn’t have to have to worry about exposure to all the nastiness out there, I could do it from my bedroom on my iPad. I got on the call and in less than five minutes of explaining what had been going on, she said she was prescribing me a strong antibiotic because she was sure I had a kidney infection. I didn’t even complain when she said she was giving me Cipro, even though I knew I’d be sick to my stomach for the next week until it was gone. And, as an added bonus, we talked about my anxiety over the last month or so that I’ve been home with kids and she agreed that I could use a little medicinal help with that as well. She instructed me to call Monday and leave a message to let her know how I was doing and that was that.

I was happy knowing that I was going to get some relief finally. What I didn’t know was that Wednesday night I was going to crash hard. I picked my meds up that afternoon but didn’t take the first dose until after dinner. I knew the Cipro wouldn’t settle nicely on an empty stomach. After I took my meds I settled down on the couch with my iPad, headphones, and my quarantine blanket crochet project. I knew I wasn’t going to accomplish much of anything else anyway. My stomach was already turning from the meds and I was so very tired.

Within probably 30 minutes I found myself shaking uncontrollably because I was so cold, yet my face felt like it was on fire. I decided I was better off just going to bed. I grabbed the thermometer on my way to the bedroom. I had been checking for fever, but hadn’t been more then a few tenths of a degree higher than normal. Over what seemed like a short time span (but really I have no idea how long it was) my temp suddenly shot up to 99, then 100, then 101, and finally settled around 102.7 for a bit. Fortunately, my mom had talked me into taking some Tylenol for the pain earlier and I’m guessing that helped the fever drop back down at some point. It was by far the worst I had felt since I started noticing symptoms nearly a week earlier.

Thursday morning I let myself sleep in a little. I got up feeling much better, got through all of the most important things I needed to do for work, helped Caleb with his school work, and by mid afternoon was on the couch dozing off and on. I spent the rest of the evening pretty much in that same spot.

Friday I woke up feeling SO. MUCH. BETTER. After a full day of work and school work, I was suddenly obsessed with cleaning up my office/family room/temporary school room. I spent the evening streaming Disney movies and cleaning, and even unpacked some boxes that have been sitting there since last June when we moved in. I didn’t quite finish, but woke up Saturday morning ready to go again and got it done. It looks so nice and organized now that I just want to sit and admire it.

I’m still fighting with my energy levels being low and the back pain when I’ve done a little too much, but overall I’m feeling so much better. My stomach is still a bit unhappy from the antibiotics, but I only have a few doses to go and that will be done. I’m anxious to get this whole thing behind me and get back to a somewhat normal routine.

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School Closing Extension and a Stay-At-Home Easter

With last week’s orders from the Missouri Governor, schools are now closed through the end of the school year. I knew it was coming, but after the week we had last week it felt a bit like a punch to the gut. The novelty of e-learning at home has definitely worn off. It is becoming more and more of a struggle to get the kids up and doing their work every day.

I think the announcement also brought with it the reality that we are going to be stuck here at home a lot longer than we initially thought. It means our “postponed” sports seasons are now cancelled. It means no get-togethers with friends for the foreseeable future. It means no church. It means no enjoying the beautiful Spring weather riding roller coasters at Worlds of Fun. It means not getting to experience the end of the school year with their friends, which is honestly the best part. It means not exchanging year books and phone numbers and making plans to get together over the summer. It means that instead of being excited to stay home and sleep in over summer break, the days will just continue, the same as they are now.

I saw a shift after the announcement was made. It was physical, visible. Their shoulders slumped, eyes lowered. As much as they complain about going to school, this isolation and distancing from their peers is hard. They miss their friends. They miss the routine. Even my most optimistic child, who typically can make the best of any situation, is struggling to keep her head above the water of the depression pool at this point. It is so hard to watch and know there really is nothing I can do to help. I try to stay positive, but it is hard when I am struggling too.

We tried to make the best of Easter on Sunday. We colored Easter eggs with the cousins via Zoom Saturday night. The Easter Bunny delivered baskets of goodies and hid eggs for the kids to find when they woke up. We watched church services online, but it just isn’t the same as being in a church building filled with like-minded people singing and worshiping. We spent some time on a Zoom call with my Dad and Debie, and my siblings families. I cooked an actual meal (with the help of Evie). We had ham, potatoes, deviled eggs, and green beans. It would have been perfect had I remembered to buy some bread rolls at the store, and if my oldest would have actually come upstairs for dinner. He is definitely in the stage where family is not a priority. By the time we cleaned up after dinner I was wiped out and ended up taking a nap on the couch for a bit.

To be honest, I haven’t felt the greatest the last few days. After a bit of a “high” last week with the incredible sunshine and lots of exercise, I crashed. Friday and Saturday my stomach wasn’t feeling great and I started noticing my energy levels were way down. Saying you aren’t feeling well right now throws up all kinds of red flags, but my symptoms are not COVID-19 related, I swear. Though I’ve had no fever, I’m suspecting an infection. If things don’t get better soon, I’ll be calling my doctor, though a trip to the doctor is the last thing I want to do right now. I do, however, want to start feeling better and get my energy back up. It is hard to be peppy for everyone else when all I want to do is crawl in bed and sleep. I just have to make myself pick up the phone and call.

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Movement

It is not shocking that my mood is better when I get more exercise. I spent years hating physical exercise and even though I could stick to a routine for a few weeks, or even months, it never really stuck. Somewhere along the way though, something changed and I started needing it, craving it even. There are still days when I really don’t want to get up and move, but I know if I make myself I will feel so much better.

I got a bit lazy over the winter. Oddly enough, my favorite exercise activity now is running with my dog. Running outside. In my neighborhood. On the sidewalk or streets. Even typing the words now feels strange. I have never been a runner and even when I tried to force it, it was always on a treadmill. Running outside is a newish thing for me and it pretty much just sucks in the winter. It turns out I’m not a fan of running in ice and snow and sleet. So I got lazy. We’d still get out on nice days, but more often than not I used the cold or the cruddy weather to just stay in.

Fortunately for me, Phoenix gets a bit crazy when he doesn’t get out for a run (or walk) every day. Since the weather has been nicer, he is D.O.N.E. staying in and so am I. We’ve been walking or running every day again and it has been good. I’m trying to alternate running/walking so I can get at least one of my kids (usually my daughter) out walking with me a couple days a week as well.

The bad thing about running is that it kills my knees. There’s a lot of family history of knee problems and sadly, it seems that is one of the blessings I have received as well. In order to protect my knees, my doctor has given me exercises to do that will help to better support my knees while running. And I haven’t done them, because there is never enough time of course. Well, guess what I have now? Time. A lot of it.

So, because I like to do things all the way, not just start out easy, I’ve been researching workouts for runners. Since summer is coming up and my eating habits have gone significantly downhill over the last few weeks, I’ve now added not one, but two workout routines to my day. In addition to running or walking every day, I’m doing a squat/lunge/plank challenge and an additional 20-30 minute strength workout. I’m not going crazy, but working with what I’ve got at home.

Apple Watch with movement ringsI’m now three days into the routine and feeling really good about it. I’m also feeling really sore in pretty much every muscle in my body, but it is a good sore. It feels great to push myself in this way. I may not fit all of it in every day, but I’m ok with that too. Today I skipped the walk/run, but our riding mower is down (again) so I push mowed the entire yard and I definitely got plenty of steps in. When I was done mowing, my daughter asked if I wanted to join her for her 30 minute PE class workout and I couldn’t tell her no, so we decided to do it on the trampoline and had so much fun together. I got a second dose of lunges and squats in as well as some arm and shoulder exercises and we did some jumping in between sets. For the record, it is even harder to keep your balance while doing lunges on a trampoline.

Today was definitely a good movement day. After taking my second shower of the day, I’m now sitting on the couch and don’t even want to think about moving again…well, maybe to my bed. Hopefully, that also means I will actually be able to sleep tonight.



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