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Passover and return to work

Last year we celebrated Passover at home, and via Zoom. This was in the first month of the shelter in place orders due to the pandemic and we all thought we’d have to stay home for a few months until it was over. How naive we were! This week we celebrated our second Passover at home and via Zoom. It’s nice to do a Passover meal at home, and we’ll likely continue it now that we have kids, but even with ordering the food catered, the whole process of heating up all the dishes and setting the table while we juggle the very small kids is a lot of work, and then there’s the Seder itself. We may have done a shortened version with the kids, looking to the second night Seder with adult friends over Zoom for the fuller experience.

Thankfully, there really is a light at the end of the tunnel now with the pandemic, and next year we should be able to celebrate with our community! Vaccines are being deployed quickly here in the United States and trials on younger people are progressing at a good pace. It will likely be the end of the year before our two very little ones can be vaccinated, but at least the rest of us will be able to get the vaccine soon and protect them from us bringing home the virus, even if it leaves things very uncertain with regard to family travel.

Before returning to work on April 1st, I managed to succeed in finding some toys for Adam out back. The first was a toy sink that cycles water and I discovered just how much Adam loves playing with water. He spent 45 minutes playing with the sink and various cups and buckets just pouring water between containers, that’s longer than he’s ever played with any toy!

I also got him a scooter, which he wasn’t super interested in until I got one too. We still have some learning to do, but they were both good purchases, I’m having more fun with mine than I expected.

On April 1st I returned to work. I took most of my maternity leave (I have eight months to use the rest), and it felt like the right time to return. I love my kids, but it was really nice to get back to mainframe stuff and having technical conversations again. I was lucky to have gone out right before the major US holidays, which means I was away while a lot of my other colleagues were also away around the holidays, so I didn’t miss as much as I would have if I took leave over the spring or fall. Even so, I am still working my way through my backlog of work, and it’s definitely going to take a couple weeks to get fully on top of everything.

With Aaron still using my office in the morning to nap (he uses the nursery in the afternoon, when Adam doesn’t need it), I’ve been enjoying all the working spots around the house I created. Most mornings I’m up around 5AM to squeeze in a couple hours of work before the boys wake up, usually from the living room couch. Then I’ll spend the morning working from MJ’s office, which is actually quite the comfortable place! He hasn’t been able to set it up much, so it’s a clean slate decoration-wise, which makes it a good spot for doing calls and presentations. After Adam’s nap, I regain access to my office and can finish my day in the late afternoon so I can do a few chores before taking over kiddo care from our au pair. I’m not going to say it’s been easy, especially since the early wake-up means I also need to go to bed by 9PM, but I’m making it work. I do look forward to the pandemic winding down though, the ability to outsource some of the house tasks again will be such a load off, literally in the case of laundry!

Finally, pandemic cooking hasn’t been a big thing here. We’ve really just switched to a lot more take-out. But I was inspired by some shortbread cakes at the farmer’s market on Saturday morning, and along with a bunch of strawberries, I had most of the ingredients for strawberry shortcake. Now, MJ doesn’t do great with dairy, so the final ingredient was a non-dairy replacement, which I found at the grocery store in Silk heavy whipping cream, made instead with cocnout. I don’t have high expectations for non-dairy substitutes, but this one really came through, it whipped up really nicely and tasted great!

I may have had strawberry shortcake for dinner last night as a result. No regrets!