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Toys outside, a laptop, and lots of bread

Pandemic life is continuing. This month we went through a wave of places opening for outdoor dining, only to be shut down by the state due to rising COVID-19 rates, and then conditionally opened up a few days later with the county remaining on a state watch list. For our part, we did go out for ice cream one day, but otherwise have avoided public outdoor dining and are sticking to take-out and eating at home. Hair salons remain closed, so I gave poor Adam a terrible haircut a couple weeks ago, I hope some day he looks back on his pandemic photos and fondly remembers that his mother is a tech person, and not an artist. Still, maybe I should watch another YouTube video on cutting toddler hair.

The 4th of July was uneventful. It was the first in several years that we didn’t spend in Philadelphia, which is quite the change for us and I was a bit sad about it. This year I didn’t have a fancy outfit for Adam to celebrate the day, but he did wear some red, white, and blue socks. But no BBQs, gatherings, or formal fireworks shows. Instead MJ and I spent the evening after Adam went to sleep enjoying dinner while watching various neighbors setting off fireworks all over the place. Turns out this was a bit of a last hurrah for all the fireworks, like many places in the country people had been setting them off throughout June, much to the frustration of my need for sleep at a reasonable hour. It’s tapered off almost completely since then.

I recently had the back yard cleaned up and now have a monthly maintenance plan with a local service, so our back yard can be used again! It’s still unpleasantly mulch-filled, but the other day Adam and I went out to pick some plums.

Since he’s walking pretty steadily now, we’ve also learned just how much he loves going outside. So each evening we go out front together to collect the mail, but he really wanted to stay out there and play. So we decided it would be nice to get some toys for him to play with out back. We started with an inflatable kiddie pool, which we finally got a pump for and tried out last weekend. I got one that is big enough for me to climb in there with him, and which has a roof to keep the sun away. The whole thing is a lot of work, but he really had fun playing in the water outside. It’s been such a beautiful summer.

We also got him a play tent with some camping gear toys, and a small Little Tikes picnic table with umbrella so he can sit outside, maybe eat? Draw? Paint?

We’re still thinking about getting him a mini-playground with a slide to keep out back, but I think we’ll hold off while he enjoys these toys for now. Ultimately, it would be great if the pandemic subsided and it was actually safe to go back to one of the many community playgrounds in the area, but that’s probably months away.

Phew, that’s a lot of kiddo stuff. To say he’s taken over my life is a bit of an understatement. On social media you can usually see me talking about work or family now, as many of my other hobbies are taking a back seat while I pull together the energy to chase a toddler while pregnant. I am caught in a perpetual battle of wanting more time to myself and wanting to sleep more, even worse than I ever experienced in my pre-motherhood days.

Still, that doesn’t mean I have no time. I’ve started reading more, and carving out time here and there for some TV shows when I’m particularly tired. A few weeks ago I bought a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad T460s through the employee purchase program at work. After a COVID-19 related warehouse delay, it arrived and I was able to have a nice evening of checking out the physical memory configuration (4G soldered on, 4G removable, upgradable to a 16G chip, which I have ordered!) and installing Xubuntu. This is replacing the HP EliteBook 850 that I bought back in 2014. The specs actually aren’t actually that much different, but the weight and size of the EliteBook was starting to get to me, and the battery life had been steadily dropping. And though I knew I would be (I had the T470 and T480 for work) I’m already quite happy with the T460s, especially since even with the memory upgrade, it was less than $500.

Like many of my fellow pandemic citizens, I’ve been doing some baking. I made brownies a few weeks ago, and most recently challah and banana bread. None of these things are particularly out of the ordinary for me, but I am probably doing more than I usually would because we’re eating at home for all our meals, snacks, and desserts now. Plus, Adam loves banana bread.

Pregnancy-wise, things are progressing as expected. Last week I had the last of the Big Tests to make sure everything looks good. It does! So I sit here at about 19 weeks along, with another 21 to go. The morning sickness is behind me, and I’m not quite as tired as I was during the first trimester, but my moods, heartburn, and the lump in my belly won’t let me forget I’m pregnant. Just like with the last pregnancy, I suddenly have a fondness for onion rings (I don’t usually like them) and I can’t eat frozen custard or strong cream cheese. The ice cream craving from my last pregnancy appears to have been replaced for one for popcorn, and popcorn isn’t usually a normal part of my diet.

The weather looks beautiful this weekend, so my plan is to catch up on some chores and go out now to set up the kiddie pool for this afternoon so we can have some nice family time. Should be a good weekend.