Bruno, dogs, Life, NaBloPoMo

The FOMO Is Real

Last year, we added a pandemic puppy to our family. And let me say, it has been a challenging year and a half. Bruno is a medium-sized dog (a little bigger than we thought he would be), is constantly into everything, and I must blurt out, “Where’s Bruno?” at least a thousand times a day. Because if I can’t see him, he’s doing something he shouldn’t be. But he’s a big goof and we love him. And it’s no coincidence that the word ‘NO’ is at the end of his name.

Adopting a puppy during a pandemic meant all the “pros” were also cons.

PRO: you are home 24/7 and can effectively potty train the puppy!

CON: you are home 24/7 and your puppy turns into velcro dog, develops separation anxiety and can’t handle it when you leave a room.

Move over Millennials and Gen Z, Bruno has you beat when it comes to FOMO.

I think every pet has a preferred parent. It could be the one who gives out extra treats when the other isn’t looking, or the one who snuggles them on the couch. In my case, I have become Bruno’s “person” because I’m the one who takes him on long walks every day.

These walks serve a dual purpose: 30 minutes of exercise for me (at least) and hopefully wearing out Bruno so that he will take a nice, long nap. Because a tired dog, is a well-behaved dog.

And because I’m Bruno’s person, he is extremely attached to me. And he’s afraid I’m going to do something fun (read: go outside for a walk) without him. It’s like having a very unflattering stalker.

Bruno’s FOMO looks something like this:

While I’m playing with Little Mister in the playroom.
While we’re in the living room.
While I’m trying to work.
Sharing my chair, again, when I’m trying to work.
Whenever I try and leave the house.
And…when I’m blogging.

I spared you all and didn’t post a photo of Bruno joining me in the bathroom every time I’m in there, standing in front of me, staring at me.

In the early spring, when we started going out again, we could not leave the house without Bruno freaking out. He’d be in his crate, scratching at the bottom like crazy, whining and crying. One time, he moved his crate halfway across the kitchen floor because he was trying to get out so badly! We were prisoners in our own home! It took a bit of training, leaving for short periods, and some “herbal” remedies of a spray and some calming drops to get him to be calm when we put him in his crate when it’s time for us to go out.

We didn’t know when we adopted him he’d become velcro dog, but I suppose being with us 24/7 trained him to think we’d always be around. Sometimes Bruno’s FOMO is cute and it makes me feel very loved and admired…at a very close distance. And I hear that Rockwell song in my head, “(I Always Feel Like), Somebody’s Watching Me…”

COVID, Kids will be kids, Life, Little Mister, NaBloPoMo, Pandemic, parenting

Should Kids 5-11 Get the COVID 19 Vaccine?

Last month, we were all invited for dinner at the house of Little Mister’s bestest friend. It was October and still warm, so the plan was to eat outside. However, Mother Nature was like, “Oh no, you’re not!” and it proceeded to be rainy and cold. The soirée became an inside party.

Little Mister asked me before we getting ready to leave, “Do I have to wear my mask inside?”

I hesitated for only a second. We knew the family, and I know how conscientious they are. And I make my family practically live in a bubble, so…

“Not tonight,” I replied.

Little Mister’s face lit up like a Christmas tree. “I DON’T??? Hooray! This is the best day ever!”

And my heart broke a little bit.

Never did I imagine that my child’s “best day ever” would be not having to wear a mask at a playdate.

Now that we are back in school in person full time, he is wearing a mask all day long. And guess what? It doesn’t bother him. When we venture out of the house, he puts his mask on while we are still in the car, driving to our destination. At his annual pediatrician’s appointment, she wanted to look in his mouth and asked him to remove his mask quickly. “Will I get the virus if I do?” he asked sincerely.

With the news that the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use on children 5-11 years old, you’d think we’d all be running to get in line. But, I’m not running. Or even fast walking. I’m meandering at a leisurely pace…using the time it takes me to get there gather up as much information as I can.

I should be thrilled! A vaccine! To help prevent COVID! So why am I hesitating? For starters, I am 100% fine doing something to myself, however, when it comes to my child, that’s a different story. What if he has an adverse reaction? Why wasn’t the test group larger? Do they know enough about the effects of the vaccine on the Littles?

Also – but not as important – is Little Mister’s fear of needles and the self-induced anxiety he gives himself whenever he thinks he needs a shot. Someday I’ll tell you about getting the flu shot this year…

A mom friend to whom I was telling about my hesitation, shared this article with me, which is basically the 5-11 COVID-19 Vaccine Guide for Dummies. And I appreciate this non-scientific explanation of what is going on with the vaccine and the young test groups.

Giving the COVID-19 Vaccine to young children is such a personal decision. I’m not sure what the availability of the vaccine will do for the mask mandate in school – will it be removed? Because if the answer is yes, that would definitely sway my decision. Because as much as I want to believe first graders are awesome about mask wearing – and they are pretty good – I know little kids can’t help but be on top of each other…and the few times I’ve been in the school I’ve seen mediocre mask wearing at best by lots of the kids.

I have booked Little Mister an appointment for his first vaccine. We have a few weeks to think it over and make a final decision. If we do it, he’ll be fully vaccinated by Christmas. And a COVID-free holiday sounds amazing!

Life, Pandemic, parenting, sleep, Type A

I Don’t Come with an “Off” Button

My social feeds are filled with blog posts and articles about how totally over everything Moms are. And I’m a sucker and I read every one of them, finding myself nodding along and whispering “Ohmygod yes!” I prefer the articles that do not Dad/Partner bash. In our house Mr. KK and I share most of the duties, however, I’m still exhausted; not because he’s not doing his share, but because he is not even aware of the running to-do list in my head. Because for all the wonderful things Mr. KK is, a mind reader he is not.

This exhaustion is both mental and emotional. I’m tired of being prepared. I’m tired of mentally trying to predict our family’s needs before they even have them. I’m fatigued from trying to “get ahead” for busy days and holidays.

Momming is hard.

I don’t want this to be taken that it’s just “Moms” who are like this because that’s sexist and leaves out too many modern-day households. It’s a personality trait, that this Mom (unfortunately) happens to have.

It’s not you, it’s 100% me.

What It’s Like Having Your Brain “On” All the Time

A typical day for me looks like this:

5:00am: Naturally wake up, no matter how many hours of sleep I’ve gotten.
5:01am: Start my morning routine: Check all 4 email accounts, delete junk, flag ones to address later; Scroll through social feeds to see what “news” broke overnight, see what dogs need a home (not that we’re looking) and vicariously live through friends who had an exciting night out. Check calendar of meetings for the day.
5:15am: Launch VRBO and Airbnb apps to continue the search for our family vacation house next summer. Find discouragement in how many houses are already fully booked for 2022.
5:45am: Support the economy! At any given time I have carts filled at at least 4 retailers. So-and-so has an upcoming birthday and we need a gift. Little Mister is outgrowing everything he owns. Didn’t Mr. KK say he needed socks? We’re running low on cleaning products.
6:00am: Good morning, Google! I use this time to “research” stuff for our lives, which can include: finding a place for a date night with Mr. KK; thinking ahead to Thanksgiving, I’d really like to change up what’s on the menu; where can we go to look at peak fall foliage this weekend; what was that book someone mentioned at work that I need to read? What gifts are new for boys this Christmas?
6:30am: FINALLY I can wake Mr. KK up for the day! I have SO MUCH to talk to him about from my morning activities!

And so it goes, every day. By the time I get out of bed, I’m mentally drained. Should I use that time to exercise? Probably. But if I get up then the dogs will wake up and get up and then Mr. KK has to get up and it’s a vicious cycle of tired, cranky beings who are up way earlier than they need to be. Plus, that vacation house isn’t going to book itself.

Why Can’t I Just Stop Thinking About Stuff?

Because it’s not how I’m wired. My brain just doesn’t shut off; there is ALWAYS something to be thinking about. This morning, I read this article about a mom doing nothing, and even in that nothingness, she did a bunch of things. But those things are second nature, so they don’t feel like chores or an item on a to-do list.

Even when I take some time to head out on my own – hit up TJ Maxx or Homegoods, or even the grocery store – I’m still thinking about everything else in my life except what I’m going. Mr. KK will get random texts from me while I’m shopping about an event a few months away, or a reminder to ask me about an item I read about in bed that morning.

Were You Able to Relax a Little During 2020?

Sort of.

I had more time to think about things (not sure if that’s a good thing, or a bad thing?) because we were doing less. Our weekends weren’t filled with playdates and soccer games or gatherings with friends. I had more time to be my crazy, Type A, controlling self. That’s good, right?

I liken my exhaustion to after a year of having more time to do things, that precious time was taken away. So now I’m back to doing the same amount of thinking/planning/researching/living in fewer available hours. We’re back to scheduling activities for Little Mister on weekends so he doesn’t turn into a hermit who only gets to play with and see his parents. Because as fun as I think I am, this kid needs to be with other kids, outside of our house, playing with friends his own age.

We’re back to going to the grocery store. Which – silly as it sounds – can sometimes be hard to fit into the weekend. While I loved the ease of online shopping and delivery, I want to squeeze my own avocados and ensure I get the correct food times when I’m unpacking the bags.

We’re in First Grade! In school, with daily drop off and pick up (at super inconvenient times!) and homework, which requires a good half hour a day to discuss said homework, complain about doing the homework, then completing the homework in 5 minutes.

We’re trying soccer! So we’re on the hook for one practice a week (on a Monday night…seriously, who has their shit together on a Monday for this?) and a game on Saturday.

Mr. KK and I are both super busy at work. So I find myself juggling schedules, finding time to be present with Little Mister in the few hours we have together, carving out work time when I can (sorry for the 10pm work emails, people!) and, oh yeah, doing all the other house stuff that needs to get done.

I’ve taken on the role of the Vice President of the PTA this year, and I’m Little Mister’s Room Captain. I know I don’t need to do this, but I want to do this – I want to be present in Little Mister’s school and community. So I carve out time for event planning and goody-bag making as well.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Hopefully to the couch, to take a nap. (But who am I kidding? I can’t even relax enough to take a nap!)

I will take it one day at a time. I will do what I can without sacrificing what’s important each day. Some days, Little Mister is emotional and needs more one-on-one time, other days he’s happy to take his iPad in the other room for a bit and chill by himself.

I will leave dishes in the sink if I can’t get to them.

I will leave laundry undone as long as we have underwear.

I will order take out if I’m too tired to cook.

I will say “no” to a 5pm meeting at work if I just can’t make it work with everything going on at home.

I will try and find time each day to get some type of exercise (even walking the dog!) because it makes me happy.

I will TRY and sleep until 5:30am each day. (But make no promises)

Life, Pandemic

What I Did in 2021: A Recap

Hello, November – otherwise known as the month I blog for 30 straight days and share mundane details of my life and bore you all to death!

I always start the month with a recap of what the year leading up to this momentous occasion looked like. I think we all were trying to find any semblance of normal again. And while we did start living again, I can’t help but feel I’m mentally and emotionally scarred from 2020.

Here is the 2021 recap…

Winter

We were still in cocoon mode, enjoying nights by the fireplace and pretending that a 30 degree day was warm enough to sit on a patio at a brewery. Pandemic Puppy Bruno was slowly finding his place in our home (and in our hearts) and turns out, he is an amazing snuggler (which is the way to Mr. KK’s heart).

We were still a few months away from our first COVID shot, so we stayed close to home. We avoided restaurants and any place inside and crowded. We played board games and made cocktails. We did crafts. We camped in the living room. We tried new recipes. We did remote kindergarten. We lit the fire pit and had friends over on a snow-covered patio when the temperatures in January reached a balmy 40 degrees. We freaked out with every sniffle and cough. We tried to make the best of it.

Spring

Spring brought optimism that maybe – just maybe – there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Mr. KK and I got vaccinated in March, which brought a small sliver of peace of mind, however with an unvaccinated child at home, not much in our lives changed. I ventured out for my marathon Target trips once again. (Whatever money we saved not going anywhere in 2020 was quickly spent at my 2021 Target visits. Sorry, not sorry).

I celebrated a birthday, though I’m still not convinced that if you don’t do out and celebrate for a full week and have the universe revolve around you, does your birthday even count? This year’s birthday saw Rocco – our older and smaller dog – literally almost die from what they think might have been a tick borne illness. Week of uncertainty and the cone of shame until finally they put him on doxycycline and he was like a NEW dog. He had his appetite back, and it hasn’t left since.

I feel I should mention that there were a few periods of tine this spring that BOTH dogs were wearing cones. It was ridiculous.

We had a flood in our living room when a pipe broke from our living room bar. Our beautiful hardwood floors buckled, even after having fans and humidifiers set up for a week straight.

The weather turned warmer and we could eat outside again! Patio living, here we come!

Summer

Whatever kindness the world – and Mother Nature – bestowed upon us during the pandemic last summer in the shape of the most glorious summer weather we’ve had in the last century, she violently and rudely took back. I can only speak for the Northeast, but the weather this summer SUCKED. It was either raining (all of Memorial Day weekend, literally almost every day for weeks on end) or it was muggy and humid, so much so that you couldn’t even bear to be outside or you’d be covered in a sheen of wetness. And don’t even get me started on my hair! No amount of hair serum existed to keep things under control this year.

A bright side to summer was our week away with friends to a little beach house we rented on the shore. Gorgeous beach days and beautiful sunsets, daily happy hours and morning walks. It was heaven.

Strawberry mojitos! What else were we going to do with all those strawberries we picked??

Mr. KK and I made it for our annual pilgrimage to Mystic, Connecticut. Where we sip adult beverages on a sailboat, then eat our weight in oysters.

And the best part? We were able to have some summer fun all while staying outside. Because I still refused to be unmasked for long periods of time inside (like eating a meal at a restaurant). If I could eat outside every day for the rest of my life, I totally would.

Fall

As we watched the world on its rollercoaster of COVID – lower deaths, Delta!, fewer hospitalizations, mask mandates back in place, vaccination requirements in cities and at companies – we prepared for the biggest unknown: in-person first grade for the Little Mister.

This year, when we were living with a highly-contagious variant of COVID, remote learning was not an option. It was all day in person school. Masked all day, but still. And you know what? Little Mister handled it like a champ. On Day 1 of morning school drop off, he literally slipped on his backpack, hopped out of the car with a “Bye, Mom!” and ran in the building, never looking back.

Me, at Little Mister’s desk, during Open House.

And here we are. It’s November, and we are on the cusp of my favorite holiday season. Last year, I skipped everything fall and went right to Christmas in early November because, well, COVID. This year, Little Mister and I decorated with “Fall Land”, though I’m counting the days until I can pack up the turkeys and take out the trees.

While it’s been great “getting back to normal”, it’s been…exhausting. I find myself missing the easy days of 2020…when I felt like I had all the time in the world. Now, I can’t seem to be able to squeeze in a workout most days, and – if I’m being honest – sometimes a shower. Everyone is busy again, so we are seeing friends less, and trying to do too much in a weekend. The laundry piles up. Dishes decorate the sink. We find ourselves giving into the convenience of take out more often.

But these next 30 days, I’m committed to finding a routine again for writing, and sharing the absurdities that are my crazy life.

NaBloPoMo, Pandemic

5 Things I Hope Last When the Pandemic Ends

Boy, did the last 30 days fly by! I did it – 30 posts in 30 days…AND I didn’t drive Mr. KK crazy in the process!

November 30 is also my cancerversary – 16 years today I had the surgery that saved me. I love that this special day falls on the last day of my blogging. It’s like I’ve reached two accomplishments in one fell swoop.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect blogging this year. I wanted to be careful to not make every post about the pandemic (though, let’s be honest, have we focused on anything else in the last 9 months besides COVID and the election? And lord knows, I don’t want to talk about the man-child who is sitting in the White House right now – when he’s not playing golf, that is.)

2020 is one for the books. It’s a miracle we made it out unscathed and mostly sane. It was a year that made us relook at how we did everything – from going out to eat to visiting an amusement park to picking up milk at the grocery store. In the blink of an eye, the way we’d become accustomed to living had changed. Schools were taught on a computer. Businesses shut down. Travel ceased.

And in the midst of it all, we learned how to live with it. We changed how we did things, and what we expected. Surprisingly, there were some silver linings that came from the “new normal”.

I’d like to celebrate my last post of the month with a list of things that I’d like to continue after the pandemic is over (whenever that may be):

  1. Zero wait times at the doctor. For a variety of reasons, I had to visit multiple doctors, for multiple reasons, in multiple venues this year. The one common denominator: I never had to wait to be seen. Gone were the days of sitting in a waiting room for God knows how long at the mercy of the doctor’s schedule. Instead, I found myself parking my car, calling up to the receptionist, being ushered inside and seen immediately, and back in my car in about 15 minutes flat.
  2. Outdoor dining at restaurants year-round. If you live in a warmer climate, you likely already have this luxury. But us New Englanders, we have a very short season for dining al fresco. And for someone who loves eating outside (but hates being cold!) this is a huge win! Restaurants across the country are suffering right now, and pulling out all the stops so they can continue to stay in business. Climate controlled yurts, greenhouses, heat lamps…anything to keep you toasty warm while dining at your favorite establishment.
  3. The ‘do whatever makes you happy’ mentality. Christmas decorations up in October? Sure! Candy for breakfast just because? Don’t mind if I do. Ignoring your to-do list because you just can’t bring yourself to get up off the couch? You betcha. Do whatever floats your boat without worrying what others think about your watercraft.
  4. Respecting your schedule, and not over booking your life. Don’t get me wrong, I miss doing things. Doing anything, really. But what I don’t miss, is mentally – and physically – over extending myself and our family. This place in the morning, this chore in the afternoon but be home by X time so we can meet up with friends. It was a little exhausting. There’s something to be said about picking one thing to do each day and enjoying the crap out of it.
  5. Having my WFH partner. Back in March, Mr. KK’s company closed down, moving all employees remote. It was an adjustment for me, to have someone home, and for him – to all of a sudden be away from his normal day-to-day and amenities. But as time went on, we both got used to working together. I no longer had to talk to myself; I had another human to chat with! We could bounce ideas off of each other over coffee. Tag team walking the dogs and making lunch. And just get to spend more time together.

There you have: the last post. Thank you all for reading along this month! Cheers to another successful NaBloPoMo!

See you in 2021!

Christmas, NaBloPoMo

How to Buy a Christmas Tree

Every year we go out on the weekend after Thanksgiving to get our tree. And this year, since we decorated the house so early, it was hard to wait until after the turkey was cooked to bring home that Frasier fir. But even I knew that getting a tree earlier than Thanksgiving was a recipe for a dried out tree disaster.

This year, because it’s 2020 and nothing is remotely normal, it was almost 60 degrees on the day we went out for the tree. That’s about 30 degrees warmer than normal. Little Mister, who is a creature of habit and Type A personalty, insisted on wearing a winter hat (and one that was way too small) because he wears a hat to get the tree every year. I tried to explain global warming to him, and that it was too hot for a hat, but he insisted on wearing it and then complaining to me that he was sweating. Kids are awesome.

We went to our usual tree place, which is actually a local produce store that gets a shipment of precut trees each year that are fresh, well-shaped and reasonably priced. Because even though I love Christmas, I won’t spend a fortune on a tree. (Also, we usually get more than one tree so I need to be smart about my tree dollars). And I will not be trudging out into a field to cut down my own tree because I’ve been there and done that, and for me it’s completely overrated.

Here are the steps to getting a Christmas tree, according to KK:

  1. Get a real tree. I know artificial trees are a better financial investment in the long run, and there’s no mess, etc. But a fake tree – no matter how expensive – will never be mistaken for a real tree. Real trees are just imperfect enough. Plus, no scented candle can replicate the spicy piney smell of a real tree in your home.
  2. Be picky. Years ago the family joke was how long my mother would take to pick our her Christmas tree. She would evaluate at least 20-30 trees before deciding. I’m picky also, but I can pick out a tree in 10 minutes and be in love with it.
  3. Look at all angles. In most homes, one side of the tree is going to face a wall. Use this to your advantage! Very few trees are 360 degrees of perfection. Wonky branches? Gaping hole hear the top? Funny shape on the left? Put that side to the back. No one will know.
  4. Measure! If it were up to me, we would get a 10 foot tree each year, even though we only have 8 1/2 food ceilings. That’s why Mr. KK comes along, to bring me back to reality. We also use his homemade measuring system, when he stands next to the tree with his arm straight in the air. If the top of the tree and the top of his hand are the same height, the tree will fit in the house. Works every year.
  5. Don’t feel pressured. Some places have workers who want to follow you around and pull out the trees for you to look at. Try and avoid this at all costs. Not only is it awkward picking out your family Christmas tree with a stranger, I am forced to say not-so-nice things about their trees in front of them. (No one wants to hear they have scrawny trees).
  6. Use decorations to your advantage. Lights and strategically-placed ornaments can make or break a tree. Admittedly, some trees are beyond salvation, but twinkly lights and themed ornaments can really go a long way.
  7. Don’t settle! If you don’t find a tree you love, move on. There are a million trees out there, you will find yours.
  8. Be prepared to compromise. I love big, fat trees. Mr. KK likes more tapered, thinner trees. And I feel badly that every year he has to concede to a perfectly fat tree because they are the best trees around.
  9. Make a fresh cut. If you cut down a tree, be sure to bring it home and put it in water right away. If you bring home a tree but you want to let it “settle” outside for a day, that’s fine – just make a fresh cut so that baby will start drinking water once you put it in the stand.
  10. Accept the fact that come December 26th, you will hate your tree. Well, you won’t hate the tree itself (unless it has completely gone the sh*t) but you will hate the idea of your tree, and the fact that you have to take the tree down, put the ornaments away, and clean up. Even for someone who loves Christmas as much as I do, come the day after, I’ve already written the holiday off.

I’d like to say that we got our tree this weekend. However, we did not. After going to two different places, we didn’t find our perfect tree. Plus, at each place, we had tree workers following us and asking if we liked certain trees. I didn’t want to be rude, but when I go shopping for clothes, I don’t have someone following me around asking if I like a certain sweater, and if I don’t why not. Christmas trees are a personal preference, so please, kindly back away.

We’ll be back on the hunt next weekend, I know my perfect tree is out there!

NaBloPoMo, only child

It’s Tough being an Only Child During a Pandemic

Mid-pandemic I sent a text to my Boston friends saying “Check on your only child friend, she is not OK.”

I’ve written about how hard it is to have an only child during this pandemic, but man has it been hard to be an only child this year.

I feel there are two types of only children: those that grow up to crave togetherness (Mr. KK) and those people who loved – and still love – alone time (me!).

I loved growing up an only child. I was never bored. I entertained myself for hours, and I brought that special talent into adulthood. Before kids, I would spend an entire day by myself: cooking, reading, shopping, doing things around the house, and simply enjoying time alone. It didn’t matter if I spoke with anyone the whole day because I would often find myself having faux conversations with myself.

When the Little Mister was still little, I relished nap time because that became my “alone time”. Also, when I could sneak away for a few hours on the weekends to wander around a few stores, it was heaven. I even counted my time at barre class or kickboxing “kk time”.

Fast forward to 2020, and all of that alone time just vanished. Poof! I wasn’t leaving the house to go shopping. Poof! All kickboxing classes became virtual. Poof! Nap time was just a distant memory. I was spending 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with other people. I couldn’t find 5 minutes alone, let alone a full hour!

At work, we were encouraged to take our vacation time. For what? I would think. What the heck am I going to do? Where the heck am I going to go?

As someone who worked from home before it was required, I would have 8 hours to myself each day. Rocco was with me, but he was small and quiet, and usually spent the better part of the day curled up behind me on my chair. But now, there is always someone home – and at times, multiple someones. We brought Bruno into the mix, and boy are puppies needy (and does that teething stage every end? This dog is part goat, he chews everything in sight!) Gone were the long stretches of time when there was just silence. Part of my job is content creation: blog posts, website pages, marketing materials. The quieter it is, the more productive I am. Now, however, I find myself trying to multitask writing and keeping one eye on the puppy while shouting things like, “No!” and “Leave it!” and “We don’t eat chairs!”

I had to work hard to find “alone time” this year, outside of the work day. I started waking up extra early and reading quietly in the darkness before it was time to start the day. I was reading a few books a week and I felt a little more like myself. I scheduled “work out” time a few days a week. I started taking walks, just to get away from my computer and to be lost in my own thoughts. I solve a lot of problems of the world during my alone time.

Just last week, Mr. KK – whose makeshift ‘office’ was a desk in our kitchen – moved into the back office with me. It’s a small room to begin with, and now it has twice the amount of furniture (and bodies!), and boy is it cozy! I haven’t shared an office with some one in a very long time. We’re finding our groove when one of us has a call, I’m trying to reduce the amount of reading aloud I do when writing, and Mr. KK is working on reining in his ‘sighs’ while working.

I miss being alone sometimes. And if you don’t like being alone, it’s hard to understand. But I like my small doses of solitude. They keep me sane. And that has been the hardest struggle for me this year. Being the best me I can be, while still being good to me.

Don’t get me wrong, I will cherish all of this family time. Mr. KK and I have found our groove of working from home together. Our Little Mister seems happier because we’re always around. We’ve played lots of games, watched lots of movies, drawn so many pictures.

And now that the weather is turning colder we’ll find ourselves in the house even more. We already weren’t going anywhere, now we won’t even be able to hand out on the patio with friends (or, in my case, to sit down outside alone and read for a half hour).

Only children, I see you. And I feel for you.

Now if you need me, I’ll be hiding in the bathroom. Shhhh…

Christmas, NaBloPoMo, shopping

A Whole New Day After Thanksgiving

It used to be, that Black Friday meant kicking off the Christmas season with shopping. I’m not talking about getting in line at 3am for a TV. The one time Mr. KK attempted to leave the house at the crack of dawn for a good price on a TV, he got up and dressed and when he got into the car, it wouldn’t start. So he came back upstairs to bed.

For me, the day after Thanksgiving was simply the start of the Christmas season: Christmas music, Christmas shopping and Christmas decorations. I loved going shopping and seeing everyone carrying bags and smiling. If I’m being honest, about the half the gifts I would buy would be for myself; I would shop with the “one for me, one for them” mantra.

When Mr. KK and were first married, we would make a day of Black Friday. We’d get up early – but not too early – and head to the mall, and then an outdoor shopping center. The whole day would be planned around where we’d go for lunch. So, basically, we’d go for lunch on Black Friday and maybe buy a gift or two in the process.

The first few years after Little Mister was born, we’d bring him with us. We’d strap him into his stroller as we perused Crate and Barrel and West Elm, stopping at the huge kids’ section in Barnes & Noble to feed him and let him play for a bit and stretch his legs.

Eventually, Little Mister reached the age when it was less productive and fun taking him with us on Black Friday. So I started shopping alone or with a friend. It was still all about the feeling of the holiday, and it put me in such a good mood. I still planned the entire day around lunch.

THIS year, however, like everything else in 2020, Black Friday was off. Instead, gifts were bought online. Movies were watched. Pajamas were worn until after lunchtime. Cupcakes were eaten for lunch. Cocktails were had before 5pm. Our Elf arrived.

Masks are worn at the North Pole too!

Our house has been decorated for over a week, so Thanksgiving was a bit of ‘holidays colliding’. This weekend we’ll get the tree, and pray that the puppy doesn’t knock it down, eat the ornaments or pee on it.

The alarm to move the elf has been set, and the season has officially started!

(Perhaps the pajama-cupcake-eating part of Black Friday can become the new tradition, because I can totally get behind that!)

NaBloPoMo, thanksgiving

Still So Much For Which to Be Thankful

I’m sitting here on Thanksgiving Eve, remembering the old days when at 10pm I’d just be getting dressed to go out on the biggest party night of the year (we’re talking 20 years ago, here). How when tonight I’m using toothpicks to hold open my eyes, back then I’d be applying eye liner. I’d be wondering who I was going to see (vs now when I go out and pray I don’t see anyone!).

But for so many reasons, this year is different. I’m old, for one. Two, I have a kid. And three, I have zero desire to be out past 8pm (pandemic or no pandemic).

2020 was – and will continue to be – a dumpster fire.

But even with all that has happened – losing my grandmother, getting Lyme disease, Mr. KK falling off his parents’ roof (he’s miraculously ok!) – I still have so much to be thankful for this year.

Our health. We’re all healthy. Yes, I was slightly neurotic about it, but it was for good reasons. When the pandemic started it was like herding goats keeping the seniors at home. But, thankfully, they are all healthy, too.

Our time with Little Mister. Was it always perfect? NOPE. Did I want to hide in the bathroom some days? YEP. Are we closer because of it? Absolutely. We’ll never have time like this again. I’ll blink me eyes and he’ll be telling me, “You can leave now, Mom.” Oh, how I wish he could stay small forever.

My time with Mr. KK. In March we found ourselves both working from home. And our work schedules – and responsibilities – couldn’t be more different. My work days consist of back-to-back meetings pretty much the whole day, with me multi-tasking and trying to get work done in small pockets of time between my meetings or when I’m scarfing down lunch. Basically, my entire days are planned out. Mr. KK, on the other hand, rarely has meetings. Instead, he has random coworkers and clients calling him throughout the day to ask him questions. That would drive me bananas! I could never work like that! So we had to coordinate work schedules, Little Mister schedules, and dog schedules. And through it all, we got a better understanding of what each of us did every day. I can’t believe how much he’s responsible for, and he can’t believe how many hats I wear and positions I “cover”. Last weekend, in an effort to get our kitchen back and provide a better workspace or Mr. KK, he moved into the office with me. COZY! It’s nice having a coworker officemate!

I learned to appreciate doing nothing. I don’t know how to relax. It’s a personality flaw that I’m not proud of. I can never just sit down and watch a movie, I need to be doing something else: making a grocery list, folding laundry, going through emails. Because I can’t let myself do nothing. Well, over the last 8 months, I learned how to do nothing. And, not only that, I learned to like it. Having a blank social calendar meant finding myself on a Saturday morning wondering what we were going to do all weekend. Some weekends, it would be 2pm and I would realize that I hadn’t gotten dressed yet (gone were the day of my early morning grocery store and Target runs). One rainy afternoon, Little Mister and I laid on the couch and watched movies all day. And you know what? It was awesome. Things I would obsess over getting done over the weekend no longer mattered. Honestly, if I accomplished one thing on a Saturday, I chalked it up to a good day.

Little Mister is thriving in school. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we chose full remote learning for him because we had the resources to do it successfully. We had no idea what to expect. I had heard horror stories from friends who had kids who moved to remote learning this past March. What would kindergarten be like for him on a computer? But somehow, it’s all working out. He loves school, he’s starting to read, he likes having us next to him when he’s learning. Once we got through the initial Chromebook issues, everything fell into place. Thank goodness!

We’re appreciating the little things. Family dinners each night. Game nights. Impromptu games of hide and seek. Things we didn’t have time for before, are suddenly the most important things we do.

I am thankful for my family. And for my sanity – however much longer I can hang onto it.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!