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Big boxes and small moods

We’ve made progress on some house things these past few weeks. I was able to finally assemble the deck box for Adam’s toys that was delivered back in November, and MJ helped me bring it outside. This will make it considerably easier to play with him out back, since we’ll no longer need to haul out his toys every time, now they’re already out there!

The wind this year has not been kind to our fence, so MJ has spent some time improving the temporary fix-ups and coordinating with our four neighbors to get the fence replaced. With support from the neighbors secured, we’ve now signed a contract for a new fence, but the materials will likely take a few months to come in, pushing out our installation date a few months. In the meantime, I’ve piled up the broken parts of the fence in a pile that Adam is unlikely to go near, making the back yard a slightly more hospitable place until we can tackle the landscaping remodel.

We also bought a chest freezer for the garage. We have one that came with the house, but it’s small and doesn’t appear to be in great shape. Plus, it was already filling up between our modest pandemic food stockpile and breast milk that I’m freezing. For the new one, we went with a 10.2 cubic foot freezer, and picked it up at the hardware store as soon as I was cleared for heavy lifting again. I’ve been joking (not joking) with my friends that it’s now time to get a Costco membership.

Freezer loaded into the truck? Check!

There are several more projects on the radar here, including putting a toddler gate at the top of the stairs, assembling a “kitchen pantry” cabinet to provide some much-needed additional storage and cabinet space in our kitchen, installing a drying rack above the sink, hanging the family room TV on the wall, and finally configuring our additional WiFi access points. We’re slowly making progress on all of these things, but sleep often wins in the battle for our time.

On the family side, I’ve been getting slightly more adept at watching both of the kids at once. It’s not easy, with the toddler taking any opportunity to run around the house and get into trouble while I’m trying to attend to the baby, but I’m getting even better at physical multi-tasking than I already was as a parent. My real limitation, yet again, is exhaustion, and power naps only get me so far! Thankfully, the antidepressants seem to be helping my postpartum depression and anxiety, meaning even at my most tired, I’m not feeling as hopeless and anxious.

Even with the medication, I have noticed there are a few things I need to be doing to keep myself on an even keel. Taking 30 minutes to light a candle while I shower, brush my teeth, and put on face creams and lotions is astonishingly restorative. Taking a walk every day, with or without the kids, has helped me ease into being more active. And reading something for pleasure, often at 4AM while waiting for Aaron to fall back to sleep, is wonderfully relaxing. Writing here in this blog is also high on the list, it’s the one thing I’m able to do right now that’s very me. I desperately miss computers and all things technical, but I keep reminding myself that I’ll have plenty of that waiting for me when I go back to work in a couple months. Still, it does leave me feeling a bit disconnected for myself, especially as I watched everyone return to work after the holidays.

Taking a walk with Aaron in the baby carrier!

The other thing I’ve been spending time on is improvements to my diet. If you’ve read through this blog over the years, you will have noticed I do from time to time commit to diet improvements, or new exercise routines (new gym membership, new running regimen). Like many adults, when life and work creep up, the more challenging of these things drops to the sidelines, and I drift toward a more sedentary lifestyle with poor nutrition choices. This became even harder once we had kids. But with the gestational diabetes diagnosis during my last pregnancy, I was really shaken up by what that means for my long-term health. It’s no longer a matter of “just being overweight” and that being a problem for vanity, it was clear that if I turn 40 this year and if I don’t get serious about diet and exercise, I have a very real risk for long-term, serious health problems. I have the benefit right now of breastfeeding, which is a major calorie burner, so even as I ease into diet improvements I’m already losing weight, which is keeping me motivated so far. I’m hopeful that concrete health concerns will keep me on track.