Casual Friday + Routines & A Hurricane

As someone who drooled over the potential of September – fresh starts, brisk air and structure, structure, structure – things have felt decidedly haphazard around here lately.

In my defense, the wonderful routine I envisioned is CONSTANTLY BEING INTERRUPTED BY SCHOOL CLOSURES. The kids have so many days off in September it is a bit ridiculous (yes, they are off today). And I also learned they have an early dismissal next week…ahead of their full day off next Friday.

For the most part, it was a good week. I feel like life is full of loose ends right now and the house feels borderline chaotic. There is dried laundry to sort (that was in the dryer for 24 hours), I have a backlog of work tasks (again), and we haven’t prepped lunchboxes for the kids inservice camp today. There also seems to be a lot of extra “stuff” floating around…everywhere. Permission forms and invitations to birthday parties are haphazardly strewn across the fridge. All the shoes and bookbags and coats are back in the kitchen since our mudroom is still unfinished.

We also happen to be smack dab in the middle of the path of Hurricane Fiona which is set to make landfall later today. I’m expecting to have lots of time to organize over the weekend. Will it be with or without electricity is the big question?

I felt exhausted several days this week. I’m not sure why, as I’ve been getting plenty of sleep. Perhaps I’m still catching up on the sleep deficit from this summer; maybe it’s the same ol’ physical issues? (I’m very curious to see how the surgery impacts my energy levels. I’m feeling optimistic, but know it’s important to balance reasonable expectations).

Speaking of which, my pre-op appointments have gone smoothly. Though, when I was getting blood drawn, there was a surgeon sitting across from me talking about how 2 of his 3 surgeries for the day had been canceled (due to staff shortages in the OR, I think). So I’m penciling in my date and understanding it might very well get changed. There is also the slightly ironic fact that my OB/GYN is 38 weeks pregnant when my surgery is scheduled. Can you imagine doing surgery at that stage in your pregnancy?!

miscellany from the week

  • We cracked open some very cool chestnuts at the end of a walk. (Every step of this walk the kids complained about something and there was even a screaming match at one point over a swinging gate on the path. It is a bit surreal how they can go from such extremes of angst to happily exploring the cool patterns and textures of fresh chestnuts together as the best of friends. Parenting offers many opportunities for emotional whiplash.)
  • Last Friday evening, after we had watched the first episode of The Rings of Power, Levi mentioned he was hungry. Levi is always hungry these days; he is in full growth-spurt mode. It is nothing for him to consume two giant bowls of rice and chili and then immediately start asking what else there is to eat. I cannot even imagine the teenager phase. I usually send him to the fruit bowl for a banana at this time of day but somehow the conversation led to a discussion of hamburgers. At which point John mentioned the JBC at Wendy’s. The kids were like: Suuuuurrrreeeee, you’ll take us there at 7:30 p.m. Imagine their SHOCK when John actually bundled them up and drove to Wendy’s. And they each got a hamburger. At 8:00 p.m. Their minds were blown and it was a really sweet moment. It feels like something they’ll always remember. It was so out of the ordinary, but yet small enough that it felt even more out of the ordinary, if that makes sense (things like this would be far more likely to happen during vacation, not on an average Friday). I very contentedly stayed home and mopped the bathroom floors which was satisfying and involved a lot fewer calories.
  • Last Friday, while we waited for Abby to finish youth choir, Levi and I went to a coffee shop and split a piece of honey cake and played cards. It had been picture day at school – hence the unusual appearance of a collared shirt – so he got all his silly poses out on me. This was a fun adventure. It’s nice to have one-on-one time with the kids, and I didn’t have to worry about sweeping up the mess of crumbs under his chair.
En route to school on picture day with my newly minted middle-schooler
  • The transition into new routines hasn’t been seamless; middle-school is a lot more pressure and a different dynamic in so many ways. But we’re making it work and the morning commute to school is a great launch point for what can be an exhausting day of classroom switches and back-to-back Math periods (of which she is not a fan, though her Math teacher seems very fun)!
  • Abby had her first drama class and LOVED it. I was so relieved, especially since we had a not-so-great transition home after school with lots of sighing and complaints about various and sundry things. I thought it might spoil her experience in class, but she ended up being very enthusiastic!!
The flatpacks for what will become our new entryway “closet” once the drywall mudding is finally finished.
  • We made an IKEA run. I think I’ve been one other time since COVID hit the world? Wow – what a change. Almost everything is out of stock including, sadly, the high-gloss doors we wanted for our shelving unit. The worker we spoke with told me it could be a YEAR before they’re back in stock. We came away with what we needed to start constructing a wardrobe in the entryway (with perfectly fine doors matte finish doors, Sigh), but it will have no shelves. I overheard the same worker talking with another customer and she said, and I quote: “Oh, I haven’t seen shelves in months.” You know supply chain issues are dire when IKEA doesn’t have shelves!! There were metal baskets, but no runners to fit baskets of the size we needed. It was a bit surreal. John mentioned similar experiences at the grocery store where vast swaths of things…just aren’t available.
No more rot. But still lots of paint cans.
  • We finally finished our electrical work in the reconstructed entrway and have lights that turn on when you flip a switch. This is a big step. Though the electrician chipped the ceiling drywall in the process, so now that has to get patched and repainted.
Much to my friend’s chagrin I did NOT paint the main door a fun, bright colour.
  • We finished painting our baby barn. A friend came alongside and practically held my hand through the entire process (Thanks, E!). This barn is hanging on by dear life (it might be original to the house? so 40+ years old); but at least it now blends in with the rest of our space. And I still can’t believe that I co-tackled a genuine DIY project.
  • The Queen’s funeral made me sad. Not the funeral, per se, but her passing. She reminds me – in speech and looks – of my beloved grandmother who passed away in 2016. All the feelings of that time and how much I miss my Grammie came back while watching the funeral. It truly feels like the end of an era (I would echo most of Diane’s thoughts on the funeral – the corgis, the grandchildren, the scale).
  • A few good books from the week. If your kids like potty humour, The Whole Alphabet Is Totally Embarrassed was a really, really fun read…and a very engaging way to learn the alphabet. The first half of Bearnard Writes a Book left me on the fence, but the ending was sweet enough that it deserves an official shout-out.
  • Thursday I managed to sneak away for a quick visit (for tea and lunch) to my dear friend of Soup-and-Sandwich-Oasis fame. It had been exactly 5 months since we were together and it was lovely to reconnect. She recently turned 77 (!) and is such a wonderful friend.

Now I’m off: to finally sort that laundry, fill up extra water bottles and batten down the hatches. Happy weekending, friends.

Is anyone else currently in the path of a hurricane? Does anyone else have plans to clean up life’s loose ends this weekend? Have you built anything from IKEA recently – this PAX wardrobe is going to be our biggest build yet!

Header photo by Valentin Müller on Unsplash

28 thoughts on “Casual Friday + Routines & A Hurricane”

  1. Oh no! I hope you guys are okay. It’s funny because September is usually a very active month for storms here, but we haven’t had anything yet. I think of hurricanes as being a Florida thing, not a Canada thing. Obviously they can hit anywhere. Fingers crossed that you don’t lose power.
    Oh yes- I have friends who just moved into a new place and are TRYING to build a piece of IKEA furniture. They’ve been back to IKEA twice because pieces are missing, and I think the current situation is they have to have some part shipped to them. They are not happy!
    I love the photos from the kids on picture day (and had to laugh, remembering Lisa’s (Lisa’syarns) recent post where she showed her kids on picture day. Levi’s silly pose reminds me of her kids’ actual photos.
    Good luck!!! I know these storms often swerve north or south at the last minute- I hope you don’t get hit.

    1. Thanks, Jenny! We actually regularly get hurricanes/tropical storms this time of year. Three years ago (?) I think, Hurricane Dorian caused lots of localized damage and many people were without power for over a week (we were only without power for a few days). Hurricane Arthur hit where my parents live and they were without power for 14 days?! When I was pregnant with Levi we lost power for a week for another hurricane – can’t remember the name of that one. Thankfully the damage is never as extensive as some of the island nations (the loss of life and damage to infrastructure is horrifically devastating so often), but I’m always wary! Like you mention, tiny last-minute shifts in how the storm is tracking can make SUCH a difference.

      Building IKEA furniture is quite an adventure. We have a LOT of stuff from IKEA in our house because we moved out of a very small apartment and needed just about everything in terms of living items (couches, chairs, a dining room table). Abby LOVES being the helper on IKEA builds; it is a big project to do the wardrobe, but will be a lot less expensive than having something custom built in terms of a regular closet space.

  2. I loved reading about your one-on-one time with your son — getting his funny picture looks out on you is so cute!

    And the mini barn looks fab! Great job!

    This really resonated with me today: “Parenting offers many opportunities for emotional whiplash.” SO TRUE. So, so true.

    Here’s hoping the hurricane peters out and doesn’t affect you much. Stay safe. xoxo

    1. It’s really quite astonishing sometimes how dramatically my emotions around parenting can shift in the span of minutes!

      Thanks for the well-wishes. It’s raining quite hard now and the wind is definitely picking up. Overnight is supposed to be the worst of it. Here’s hoping I can sleep through and wake up to no major damage?!

  3. I was all set to talk about the hurricane but got caught up in the detail about IKEA. Having no shelves. IKEA HAVING NO SHELVES. I can barely process.

    Back to the hurricane. One of my best friends lives in Halifax and I’m so stressed for her. She said last time a really big hurricane hit they were without electricity FOR FOUR DAYS. Calgary has shitty weather but at this time of year I remind myself that at least we have no hurricanes. I’ll have to remind myself of that when it snows on my garden in late May. I hope the hurricane isn’t what they are forecasting and that your power stays on.

    The barn is adorable and I agree, the kids will remember their late night hamburger forever. Re: food for the teen years, girl, I hear you. My kids are literal garbage disposals. I have no idea how they eat as much as they do. Not to mention they are both weightlifting, J is wrestling, and M is “body building” so thoughts and prayers appreciated for me and my kitchen.

    1. We had a repeat of last week tonight – big supper for Levi and then an “I’m hungry” an hour or so later. I’m not sure how one tiny metabolism can work that quickly?!

      Halifax got hit very hard during Hurricane Juan years ago; Dorian left many people out for over a week but we were only a day or so? We’ve never been out more than a week, but let me tell you – a week is a LONG time! At this time of year it’s mostly the hassle of all the food stuff. I won’t touch the freezer if the power goes out, but after about 2 days, everything would need to be cooked up. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it!

  4. Fortunately I am smack dab in the middle of the country and have never really experienced a hurricane. This also means I don’t regularly get beach time, so there are cons to this geographic placement, too.

    I want to talk about chestnuts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a chestnut tree because a blight took out most American chestnuts in the early- to mid-1900s. I found your blasé “just opened up some chestnuts” to be super amusing because if I saw them, I would be utterly gobsmacked. What a life!

    1. Yes, the downside to being so close to beautiful coastline is we attract various weather extremes.

      No chestnut trees? I’m so sorry you can’t easily access/see chestnut trees – they are such a delight each fall. We’ve spent HOURS collecting chestnuts with the kids over the years and they still love it just as much as they did when they were toddlers. The experience of cracking open the casing is so satisfying; and the kids love admiring how smooth and glossy the chestnuts are inside. There are a lot of chestnut trees in our town (we even a street called Chestnut). We don’t have any trees on our property, but one of our neighbours does. I had no idea they were a rarity in the US!

  5. You made it through Fiona’s wrath ok? It’s frustrating to have to wait to see what may go wrong, but maybe not. That kind of thing is irritating.

    I’m glad you went to Wendy’s and your kids now have a memory of their parents being spontaneously child-like. They’ll always remember– and the love that goes with it.

    I’ve been in IKEA once since the beginning of the pandemic. We’d scoped out where what we wanted was, so it was an in and out shopping trip. No dawdling. Not sure what to make of your IKEA experience.

  6. I have ikea bookcases sitting in their boxes in the basement waiting to be assembled. I also had to choose a different finish because the one I originally wanted was out of stock. But I think this will work out better in the end. Just got a couch from a local store that I ordered 2 months ago.

    1. I know some people ordered appliances in 2021 that still haven’t arrived yet – I can’t even imagine! I’m so thankful we haven’t had anything major break, because there are very, very long wait times right now.
      Best of luck with the bookcase assembly.

  7. Hurricanes are not a thing here since we are in the middle of the country. I hope you don’t lose power. I was in a meeting yesterday and a portfolio manager commented on how sand storms in Africa cooled the ocean temps to an extent that hurricane season is expected to be less bad. The portfolio manager got that tidbit of information from the research analyst that covers the insurance sectors as less hurricanes is good for that sector in terms of financial strength. I love acquiring random bits of information like that!

    I thought I was going to buy Paul’s first big boy bed at Ikea but then found out it was out of stock and not likely to be in again for a long time so we had to pivot to something different. The supply chain issues feel never-ending!!

    I did a lot of cleaning up of loose ends this week w/ my organization projects on my day off. I’m also selling a few things on facebook, too. I only reactivated my account to sell stuff, though! I sold some stuff at once upon a child (consignment chain here in the US) but I did not get much for my items so I think FB will be the way to go going forward. But I figure using it for a limited reason is not a big deal.

    Oh and family photos yesterday were a gong show. If I hadn’t already written my TGIF post, that would have been my low of the week. Will did NOT want to have his photo taken and didn’t want to be held. He almost fell into the creek a couple of times and face planted a few times while running around like a wild man. Luckily it was in the grass so he didn’t get hurt. But wow. It was epically bad. Phil wanted to call it and be done after like 20-30 minutes but our photographer wanted to keep trying and I think she did end up getting some decent pics but I have LOW expectations! Last year was bad since it was freezing, but this was even worse. Phil HATES getting pictures taken so it’s hard to lobby for yearly pictures after they went so horribly!

    1. I thought it was supposed to be a really bad hurricane season this time?! Well we’re hunkered down and expecting to lose power at some point, likely over night tonight.

      We haven’t had to buy much stuff over COVID, so I really didn’t understand how far-reaching the supply chain issues really were – but if there are no shelves at IKEA, it’s not a great sign for anything else being readily available.

      Oh the family picture experience sounds horrible and I can 100% relate. We’ve had similar experiences (it DOES get easier as they get older)! I always dread family pictures and I’m always absolutely exhausted by the end. We always end up with some great shots, but it does feel a bit hypocritical to have a picture of everyone smiling when seconds before someone was yelling and someone was crying. Thankfully, things are a lot less emotionally charged now and we don’t have to work around naps or diapers which makes life a lot easier! We’ve also had several years of FRIGID temperatures, which is so uncomfortable. I really hope you get some great shots (you only need a handful to make it all feel worth it eventually), and I hope your weekend feels more relaxed with such a stressful event in the rearview mirror.

  8. Came here – on the DAY YOU POSTED, which I honestly do not think has ever, ever happened – because I was so worried about Fiona and your family. <3 So grateful you are – thus far – okay, and you seem a) prepared and b) per your reply to Jenny, oddly used to these weather-related issues.

    Still keeping you in my thoughts and hoping you are all safe. And I feel you – oh, how I feel you – on the living-spaces-out-of-control. And it is just me! Yet it still persists and good gracious it drives me bonkers. So, sending you supportive organizational thoughts – with or without electricity – and hoping that all is well for you this weekend. <3

    1. It remains to be seen how things pan out; it’s raining hard and the wind is definitely getting stronger and stronger. We’re expecting to lose power, so the hope is it isn’t out for too long?! At this point I can’t plan much for the next few days but am hoping to get a decent sleep tonight and we’ll see what state the house/neighbourhood/province is in when we wake up.

      Thanks for the kind words and I’ll keep everyone posted as things develop (and as I’m able; sometimes hurricanes knock things out for days or even weeks…but I don’t even want to think about that possibility).

  9. Oh my – sending positive vibes for you all as you weather Fiona! I often forget that these Hurricanes continue northwards – our attention is so much on anticipating and tracking the approach that when they pass us there is a lot of relief.
    I also feel like my kids don’t go to school much in September. Our district takes the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur off (though they don’t call it that. They don’t call it Christmas or Easter Friday either.) so that’s already two days in the first few months of school. Next week alone there is one full day off school and one half day. Of the five weeks they’ve been in school, they’ve had one five day week. Well, there are plenty of five day weeks between now and June, so I’m sure it will even out.
    When my parents are visiting, my Husband and I often go to Wendy’s after the kids are bed. We get Frostees and French Fries and sit in the mall parking lot and eat them – it’s the easiest and quickest date night. Sometimes I think it’s a little sad that we can’t manage a more elaborate date night, but these days, I think I’ll take whatever we can muster the energy for.

    1. Thanks for the well wishes! We still have power (but 70% of the province does not); so far, so good but my goodness it sure is blowing out there!

      I’m a HUGE fan of easy date nights. Years ago, pre-COVID, we started doing at-home date nights. My husband was often traveling right up to the weekend so between jetlag and the fact he had been away from home, getting dressed up and coordinating a babysitter so we could go out on a Saturday night wasn’t very appealing. But feeding the kids separately and then carving out time to eat alone together after they were in bed is just lovely and has a lot fewer moving parts. 99 times out of 100, I’d choose that option over going out. I just find it so consistently enjoyable!!

  10. Hi Elisabeth! 🙂 Random, but I remember you did a Sprouted planner review. I am thinking of purchasing that for 2023, but have one question! Is it too bulky to carry around? Or do you find it to be transportable? I am wanting something specifically I can w/ my son to his medical appointments.

    1. I will admit I don’t travel with my planner a lot, but I don’t find it overly bulky? It would definitely fit into most of my purses. It does have a ring binding (which I love, but that can make things slightly more complicated for packing into a purse). If it would be helpful, I can send you some pictures of the size in context. It’s easy to read dimensions online but still have a very hard time visualizing an item in the “real world”!

      I have come to absolutely adore this planner and it is on my to-do list for next month to order the 2023 version.

  11. Hoping that your weekend is going ok and that you have successfully holed up and avoided much trouble from the hurricane! My boys were watching some coverage on TV, and the news reporter said something about it “heading all the way up to the North Pole”. Hopefully it won’t affect this Christmas’ toy supply, as a result! 😉

    I love that picture of your daughter!! What a GREAT shot! She looks just beautiful there.

    Congrats on the paint job! I know you are like me and don’t find a ‘quick paint job” to be a light, easy task like it seems to be for some people. If you recall, I painted my son’s bedroom last fall, and it was an entire weekend project for me. I just don’t have a lot of painting experience, so the entire thing felt like a huge project. I wasn’t even sure if I should start with the wall, or the ceiling, or what… haha. Fortunately, it actually turned out really great, but I still don’t feel like a pro painter yet.

    I’m happy to hear the renovations are moving along and some things are maybe wrapping up. Good progress!!

    1. Thanks, Kaelyn! We have been so, so fortunate and had minimal impacts personally and even right in our local area compared to so much devestation in other parts of the Maritime provinces.

      I don’t have any of the tools or know-how to do even basic DIY jobs, so it feels like a HUGE job to me mostly because I’m just so out of my element and skill set. But it was actually a lot of fun and a nice “bonding” experience with my friend.

      And yes – we are basically all done renovation work for now. Next up is landscaping (we had to excavate the whole perimeter of our house soon after we bought it so all the established landscaping we “bought” with the house had to be removed. So now it’s finally time to start rebuilding the outside stuff. I’m hoping that’s a lot less stressful than having people working inside our living space, though)!

  12. Stay safe, friend!!

    I absolutely know what you mean about September still feeling chaotic. I feel personally aggrieved and let down by September not being the White Knight of Calm and Routine that I was pinning my hopes on it being… lol

    Fingers crossed that your procedure goes smoothly and without delay!!

    1. Thanks, Katie.

      Yes. I also expected September to be a White Night of Calm and Routine. We’re slowly settling in to a rhythmn and I feel more settled now than I did even a week ago. But, still, it has just been a lot of adjusting and also some residual fatigue from summer chaos.

      I appreciate the well-wishes for my surgery. I’m praying things go smoothly and on the predicted schedule – thankfully I feel very calm and content that this is the right decision!

  13. Gosh, I didn’t realize that you’d be in Fiona’s pass… but I guess it makes sense as the hurricane do tend to wander up the coast.

    I haven’t been to Ikea in a while, but I wonder; what is it with all the supply issues and worker shortages? Is this still a ripple effect of the pandemic? It seemed like things had improved, but I guess not?

    Oh, and us adults could definitely take a lesson out of the kids’ book when it comes to “holding a grudge”… it’s so interesting to witness how much they fight and then make up within minutes! I tend to hold on to anger much longer (not very long, but a bit longer than a few minutes LOL)

    1. There are so many factors at play; many people retired early because of the pandemic, others have shifted careers entirely, and then there is the fact that we do have an aging population so there is just more demand for many things while the workforce demographic is changing dramatically.

      The kids are literally the best of friends so much of the time and then…well, basically bitter enemies. But it always ends in love eventually, which is heartwarming (if I haven’t lost my mind mediating a disagreement).

  14. For some reason, I had no idea that Nova Scotia had to worry about hurricanes. It seems unfair that you have to deal with snowstorms AND hurricanes! At least in Florida, we only have to worry about hurricanes, lol. I can’t believe how far Hurricane Fiona traveled, since she also affected Puerto Rico really badly. Ugh.

    I haven’t been to IKEA in so long! I didn’t know they were having such incredible shortages, especially for shelving! Sad face for not being able to get the kind of doors you wanted.

    1. It does seem strange because we’re so far up the coast, but they’re an increasingly big deal in this area. There are people STILL without power, but we were so minorly impacted in our local communinity it’s hard to believe people just a few hours away have had a complete change to their lives in so many cases with entire homes and communities being severely damaged.

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