I have sadly fallen behind on my sustainability swaps that I used to do once a month. Mostly this is due to getting a puppy and quickly realizing that taking care of a puppy is a lot harder than I thought. I am going to try to pick them up monthly again, but it’s possible this may not work out.
However, since it is Earth Day, and the anniversary of starting these swaps, I wanted to write about a major change. We bought a new car! For the past few years, we’ve leased cars, because once you start to lease a car, it is easier to continue leasing. We wanted to stop doing that and actually own a car. We also wanted something that used less gas. It would have been nice to get a totally electric car, but also too expensive. So we bought a hybrid. I don’t actually have much else to say about that, because I have never been interested in cars. I try to drive as little as possible. However, I am grateful to have a car when I need it, and this hybrid car has not yet needed to be filled with gas in the two months we’ve had it.
Since March 13, 2020, I have been a full-time working from home mom who also sort of homeschools two kids. I say sort of because since the end of March last year, the NYC DOE has been having Zoom/Google classroom schooling. But back then, I had to do everything for both of them, including keep two very separate schedules. And also do my own job. And also feed everyone.
Slowly, everything has been shifting. Since the fall, my older son has been able to handle all of his assignments without my help. This morning, my younger son showed me that he finally learned to take attendance by himself.
But these homeschooling days may soon be over. Next week, my kids are supposed to go back to school five days a week, from 8am to 2pm. I am very glad my older son, who is graduating elementary school in June, will have the opportunity to see all of his classmates in person again before switching schools and maybe not seeing them again ever.
It’s a little bittersweet, because while this life has been challenging, I feel like I never would have gotten the opportunity to know my kids so well had we not been forced to be in each others presence for 24 hours a day for more than a year. Thinking about that give me the idea of writing down my typical daily schedule, before it changes again.
6:30am: I wake up and quickly run to let Ziggy (who’s 95% house trained) outside. I haven’t set an alarm in more than a year. This is just when I get up now. Then I feed my cat, Oz, while the dog is still outside. Once he’s eating, I let her in and get her breakfast. Then I make coffee.
7:00am: This is probably my favorite time of day. No one else is up yet. I typically drink my coffee while sitting in the bay window and reading a book. When I commuted, I loved reading on the train, and it was the one time dedicated to reading for pleasure. Since I don’t commute anymore, my reading time went way down in 2020. But now that I’ve found this perfect time to read, I’m a lot happier. Plus, unlike subway reading, I can do it in my pajamas with my feet up.
7:30-8:00am: The kids wake up and demand breakfast. I attempt to get them dressed as well.
8:00am: I take Ziggy out for a short walk while the kids eat and watch TV. Note that my spouse is still home–the kids are not alone.
8:30am: School starts for both kids. Sometimes, I have to do something with the younger but usually I take the opportunity to eat breakfast.
9:00am: Work starts officially for me. I get another drink (sometimes coffee or tea or just water) and head into my private office, which I am so happy to have.
9:20am: Morning class is over for my younger son. He comes to tell me this and then sits by me while reading a book.
9:45am: Book finished, son begs for “free time.” Usually I am working, so I have no choice but to allow the free time.
11:15am: Older son reports that his class is over. He either plays with Ziggy in the yard or reads or plays with his brother. I may walk the dog if she’s not playing. Otherwise, I start lunch prep. They kids eat lunch early because of class schedules.
12:10pm: Younger son’s second class starts. I usually take my lunch back to my office.
2:00pm: Officially school is over at this time, but there is still a lot to do depending on the day. My older son has piano class once a week, a school tutor once a week, and a private tutor twice a week. My younger son has both a school tutor and a private tutor twice a week. Once I get them settled, I’ll try to step away for a short walk with the dog. Then, back to work.
5:00pm: Work is over! I am fortunate to work for a place that allows me to take breaks as needed, but at the end of the day I am very happy to forget work and take a long walk with the dog. Sometimes, people will come with me, but I don’t mind either way.
6:00pm: Back home and dinner for the animals, and then I prepare dinner for the humans. We are usually done with dinner by 7.
7:00pm: If there is no homework to do and it’s nice, we all might go for another walk, especially if, for some reason, I’ve had to skip the earlier one. If not, we all might watch TV together or play a game. I have a low level of patience for TV, so I can only do this for about an hour before I switch to something else, like reading or artwork. The kids can play video games with their friends at this time, so they usually do this, either by zoom meeting or facetime. This has been their primary means of socialization for some time, and I’m glad they do get to talk to other kids apart from zoom school.
9:30pm: Bedtime for kids. They take showers, youngest first. When he’s done, we read a physical book while the older is showering. Then they both listen to an audio book while I shower and get ready for bed.
10:30pm: I let the dog out one last time and then retrieve my phone from the kids room and say goodnight (even though they are asleep). Our cat, Oz, sleeps with the boys. He takes turns which bed he sleeps in. Then I go to bed. Ziggy runs upstairs after her last potty break and passes out immediately on my bed, so I usually have to ask her to roll over. I may read or meditate, or just pass out immediately as well.
Exciting, no?!? Well, boring or not, I have been having a great time with more relaxing days at home with my kids than I ever thought possible. While I am looking forward to them being back in school, I know I will miss this time!
When my kids used to go to an actual in-person school, they ate school lunch every day and appeared to like it. Since they ate cereal bars on the walk to school most days, I only had to worry about feeding them dinner, and to be fair, this was more like five times a week because of take-out and actually eating out. Then, more than a year ago now, I suddenly started having to feed them every single meal at home.
At first, last March, I made the same lunches for everyone, every day. That lunch was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with raw veggies, fresh fruit, and a handful of chips. It soon because apparent that I’m the only one who actually enjoys that lunch (go figure! PB&Js are great!). One year later and I seem to have figured it out somewhat. I give my kids basically the same lunches every week, but in random order. Those lunches are mac and cheese, ramen, egg and cheese sandwiches, pizza rolls, and cheese and crackers and hummus. Lunches are still served with raw veggies (so glad they like raw veggies). And then they eat fruit and chips in the afternoon when zoom school is out at 2pm. Dinner is still a work in progress!
I will still happily eat PB&J but limit myself to once a week!
The Spring 2021 Minimizing Game is complete! Twice a year, I question why I do this. I think it’s safe to say that I am not a minimalist. I live in a fully decorated, sometimes messy house with my spouse, two young kids, a dog, and a cat. I don’t think I want to be a minimalist in the strictest sense either. But what I do like is the biannual cleaning out of every drawer and closet in my house and also the garden shed. If I stopped playing the MinsGame, I think clutter would start to pile up really quickly. So expect more minimizing in the autumn.
For the Minimizing Game Day 31, I went through my closet and the kids’ closets. Most of the stuff here belonged to my younger son, since whatever my older son grows out of is passed down. (And I’m not getting rid of my older son–he just wanted to be in the photo!)
For the Minimizing Game Day 29, I went through the sock drawers. Some are mine and some are from my younger son. Some are non-matching and some just don’t fit him anymore. There is also a shirt that was in the lost sock drawer (and is for a much younger child), a single glove (looking for the mate for awhile), and a slipper that I also somehow lost the mate.
For the Minimizing Game Day 28, I ran from room to room, frantic that I would not be able to find 28 items. This pile includes a white-noise machine neither of the kids needed to sleep with; I think it was in the hall closet for at least five years.
For the Minimizing Game Day 27, I cleaned out the refrigerator and kitchen drawers. Fortunately, there was very little in the way of expired food. Lots of random nonsense, and I stopped counting at 29 items.
I forgot to post this yesterday because I had an emergency root canal. 😦
For the Minimizing Game Day 26, I cleaned out a drawer in my bedroom, a drawer in my office, and a drawer in my kids’ room. I think I should have tried to do this MinsGame in a more organized way, but I did not, and I guess that’s okay.