- We lost our power last Friday. I alluded to this adventure in Monday’s post (my lamentations), and I was very thankful the experience was relatively shortlived. Several neighbouring streets (within eyesight of our home) were without power for days. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I was mostly disappointed about not being able to make my beloved waffles; after a long break due to all the delicious Christmas food, I was ready to have waffles again. Alas, the waffle iron requires electricity…of which we had none; John whipped up some delicious seafood filling and we made little sushi rolls in snack-size nori sheets. We played Crokinole by candlelight and watched a movie when the power came back on temporarily. It went off again around midnight – which did disturb everyone’s sleep (mostly because our sound machines went off) – but came on at 6:30 am. We lost power for almost a week years ago and it was a horrible experience so I’m always wary when it so much as flickers. How grateful I am for electricity!
- After dreading the start of online learning, it went more smoothly than expected. At one point John and I peeked our heads into Levi’s room and agreed it felt both tragic and heartwarming to see him at his desk engaging via a screen with all this classmates. One thing I definitely don’t give thanks for enough – that school has gone ahead. The kids teachers show up day after day and patiently explain how to mute microphones and what page of the daily reading log they’re all to be working on. It’s hard and definitely not the ideal, but even in the middle of it all, I couldn’t help but recognize the wonder of modern technologies and the tireless patience of wonderful teachers. That said, the kids are set to return to in-person schooling next week and we’re all relieved. One month home feels like more than enough for all of us.
- I’ve already written about my parenting break last weekend; I know one long morning of sleeping in and drinking tea isn’t going to reset my fatigue, but it did help. Monday morning I showered, brewed myself a cup of strong tea, and the kids and I walked 1 km outside in the bracing wind (including navigating lots of black ice) and they played a short game of soccer with some neighbourhood friends (and everyone managed to stay on two feet, despite the ice) all before we signed on for the first day of online learning. It set a nice pace for the week and I’m really glad I indulged in the morning nap and lamenting.
A few other thoughts:
EXERCISING | My streak of at least 1 km of walking OUTSIDE continues. I didn’t set out to do this religiously, but it has felt very felt therapeutic to get out of the house after almost a month of being largely cooped up. Some days we just walk around the neighbourhood loop. My favourite outing was a tromp through the woods to collect materials (pine branches, cones, berries) for our ice wreaths. We ended up coming across a little hill on our walk and the kids slid happily for about 25 minutes while I just paced back and forth on the nearby sidewalk.
I’ve also been walking inside. I have been feeling very “over” the treadmill and admitted defeat with my running habit which I have decided to shelve until the weather improves. I can force myself to run inside, but I really, really dislike it. I sourced a desk attachment for the treadmill and have been walking (currently typing this post while walking!) while I do various tasks on the computer. Since I’m not a big fan of watching things while I exercise (but like to be productive), this has been a huge win for me. I walk slowly (about 1 mile/hour pace), but it keeps me warm, helps me stay moving, and I have no problem concentrating on the task at hand.
ADVENTURES | I was able to host a few of the kids friends this week. We have two families we’ve essentially “bubbled” with; one day I hosted for an afternoon full of LEGO and lunch with one of Levi’s closest friends, the next day we welcomed several of Abby’s friends for (another) viewing of Encanto + hot cocoa. Thursday we walked over to those same friends’ home for supper. It felt…wonderful after a month of mostly isolating. The food was delicious and we came home with leftovers (though I think the highlight for all of us was listening to the 15-month-old impress us with his newfound language skills; what is it about a toddler say “baaa” and “mooo” that seems to universally send us all into fits of joyful hysterics)?
RECEIVING | A new mug from my dear friend (fittingly named Joy, she is such a source of joy in my life!). This was a highlight in many ways: a) a friend thought of me; b) she saw this mug and didn’t buy it the first time because she knows I’m a minimalist and wouldn’t necessarily want something else coming into the house so close to Christmas; c) she wanted to buy this BEFORE I posted about the days feeling so long – she knows me too well; d) once she read the post and rediscovered the mug was still there she bought it for me and wrapped it up with some tea bags. The cherry on top: it was a thrifted mug, and thrifting with her is one of my all-time favourite activities (pre-COVID we used to do this together one evening each week while our kids were all at an activity together).
SIBLING FIGHTS | This was…okay.
I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve hired babysitters over the last decade. Almost literally. It just has never really fit into our family structure, but I’m working to change that. I hired a girl from our church to come over this week to watch the kids while I worked in the basement (which was amazing; it is incredible how much I can get done in 2 hours). The kids were squawking at each other when I went down to the office and I learned later that the babysitter sent them both to their rooms to cool down and then quietly explained to them both what the other sibling was feeling and they came together and mutually agreed it had been a misunderstanding and got back to having fun. Basically a successful hostage negotiation. This babysitter is 13. WHEN CAN SHE MOVE IN?!
WORK | Thankfully this week was quite light (except Thursday when I felt like a chicken with my head cut off). I don’t work specific hours so one week can be crazy and another (without being able to plan it out in advance) can be very, very light. I did have a few unplanned, intense phone calls which, conveniently, happened when we had a babysitter. I felt like I was able to offer genuine help and support. I also had to do some follow-up on this same situation. It was time-sensitive, so I had to compose the email quickly, but I wanted to make sure I captured all the nuances of the issue. After I sent it, I got a response from one of the people on the exchange complimenting me on my e-mail which was a great morale boost.
- Taxes. Because one of my roles is managing day-to-day operations for our small business, I have annual responsibilities relating to corporate taxes. We have a great accountant, but I still have to pull together a series of documents before he can start. He touched base this week asking if I was ready (I wasn’t) and I decided to rip the BandAid. I got the corporate side of things ALL done. I am just elated, as it always feels like a giant to-do hanging over my head at the start of the year. The main thing I dread is navigating a specific set of forms on the government website. Every single year this trips me up. Last year I made myself up a “cheat” sheet with all the “tricks” to what information needed to go where and some of the nuances that are always challenging. It made things go SO much faster and, bonus, the same “cheat” sheet will work next year. While I was at it, I started pulling things together for personal taxes as well, which felt like icing on the cake.
- The twinkle lights on the mantle still being up.
- The new photobook has arrived! I’ll do a summary post sometime soon; I’m thrilled with how it turned out and it makes me so happy to see the family walk by and pick this up off the end table and then settle in somewhere cozy and spend 30 minutes flipping through the pages. (*It was crazy hat day, hence wearing a toque inside; the fire was also on, so she’s actually very warm in this picture!)
- Starting back up renovations. Because supplies have to be ordered, permits need to be acquired, aesthetic and structural decisions have to be made – I/we do have to get my/our head back in this game. It did make my day when the person from UPS said the house was “looking fantastic” but I really wish I could just wave a magic wand and have the whole process completed.
- Also dreading the next steps in dealing with the car accident; our car was rear-ended this week and even though it wasn’t our fault, there is still the hassle of dealing with insurance and getting the repair work done/coordinating rental cars etc.
WATCHING | The kids continue to be enthused with Lord of the Rings and Encanto (clearly wildly divergent viewing interests).
John and I have started watching documentaries again – my favourite thing to watch – for our weekly at-home date-nights. I’ve especially enjoyed the following:
- The Dissident – About the murder of the Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi; it was sobering but well done.
- The Lost Leonardo – We love art. We love Leonardo da Vinci. This was an interesting documentary with lots of intrigue. Right up my/our alley.
- M.C. Escher: Journey to Infinity | Another art documentary. Both heartbreaking and aweinspiring. It was a bit of a slow start, but I really enjoyed this one. Incredible artistry and great if you’ve ever been fascinated by Escher’s work.
- Banksy Most Wanted | We’ve actually seen a Banksy in New York City; this wasn’t as good as the other documentaries I list above (to me at least), but still an interesting commentary on art, more generally, and what makes it “valuable”.
- Anne of Green Gables (Book #2, Anne of Avonlea); Levi is quite upset I’m reading this solo, but I just didn’t have the energy to read another long book out loud to the kids right now. It’s hard to fit in reading sessions (ironically enough, with them both home), so I’m reading this on my own and enjoying the comfort of familiar characters.
- Fresh from the library: I just picked up Everything is Figureoutable by Maria Forleo (this will be a re-read), Burnout by Amelia and Emily Nagoski (about how stress impacts women), and Vitamania by Catherine Price (since I enjoyed her book How To Break Up With Your Phone so much).
- Also: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I bought this book for John for Christmas and after he finished it, I added it to my reading pile. It’s short but very engaging and I’m enjoying the story (and writing style) so far.
I keep rolling this term – “joyfinding” – over and over in my head. I’m noting things in my daytimer when I realize that I’ve “found” something to be joyful about because there really is so much, even when there are car accidents and tears over gym class (and, yes, even when pipes burst over wrapped Christmas gifts, right?!)
Joyfinding this week:
- Bedtime snuggles and a long talk where I said nothing and just listened to the sweetest words and nighttime observations. Parenting is hard – no lie about it – but it is also wonderful in so many ways.
- Walking solo while the kids slid on their little roadside hill. The sun was shining, I could see a half-moon in the bright blue sky. We met a border-collie named Devlynn who was so friendly. The kids were happy and laughing. Joy, joy, joy.
- Watching my friend’s toddler…toddle…around our house. Toddlers are just pure, squishy joy.
- Ice wreaths. Easy, fun, beautiful. My arts-and-crafts checkbox can now be ticked off for the winter.
- Drinking tea out of my new mug – the mug, the gesture, a warm drink…it was all joyful.
- Watching the kids swirl (to the point of nausea – oops) to the soundtrack from Encanto. Giggles and tumbing on to the floor from dizziness. So good to hear them joyful; and deep belly laughs that leave them gasping for breath are my favourite.
How was your week? Any must-see documentaries to recommend?