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Zoo! Party! Family!

I talk about the pandemic a lot, but the pandemic is a lot. Even without becoming sick ourselves, every aspect of our lives over these past two years has been impacted by it. It drastically changed my job, and access to our family, all of whom live on the east coast. We bought our townhouse in Philadelphia specifically so it would be easier to visit our family frequently, especially during these early years when traveling with babies is already a challenge, having our own home to land at was major.

We’ve now been in California since February 2020. No one in our family had met little Aaron! Or Adam since he was just one year old, and he’s almost three. It’s heartbreaking. So, with all the adults fully vaccinated with booster shots, we decided it was time to have my in-laws come visit to see their grand kids. It’s probably one of the biggest risks we’ve taken thus far, but as my conservative relatives love to remind me every time they scoff at our precautions, there’s more to life than avoiding COVID-19. We all have to constantly do risk assessments and decide what’s best for our families, and at this moment in time, this was what we decided.

And their visit was action-packed! I took off the day from work on Friday so we could all go to the San Francisco Zoo. Unfortunately, on our way there, we got confirmation that poor little Adam does indeed get car sick on long car rides. I’m still in the process of doing a full cleaning of his car seat. But we had a change of clothes for him and then we were off to meet grandpa and grandma at the zoo! It was a good day, Adam loves the zoo train and getting to run around a lot, and Aaron just loves going on adventures with us.

On Saturday we had an outdoor party for MJ and the boys. We had some last minute chaotic schedule shuffling as the forecast called for rain on Sunday, and switched the date of the party. Our guest list was very small, and couple guests couldn’t make the new date, but everything else came together nicely. We rented a spot at the park so we could put up our tent, both to avoid the sun and have a way to hang decorations and center the event. We picked up the cake at the grocery store and MJ worked with a local deli to get us pasta salads and individually wrapped sandwiches. We bought a cooler and stocked it with an assortment of beverages. With all attending adults vaccinated and everyone keeping what they felt was appropriate for them distance-wise, it was actually pretty comfortable, all things considered. We hadn’t seen some of the people who came by since the pandemic began, so it was nice for them to see the boys and for us to get some in-person, adult social time. It did remind me how much I miss seeing people. Most of my friends are not local and pre-pandemic I depended upon my whirlwind travel schedule to keep in touch.

Sunday we had a pretty chill day, partially because it was raining, but mostly because the past two days had been so busy and we were all pretty tired. MJ’s father came by for a couple hours in the afternoon to visit and play with the boys one last time before they flew home. It’s been really sweet seeing Adam play with him, and in the end even Aaron is overcoming a little of his one-year-old shyness to start to warm up to him. I hope we can see family again soon. As I think I’ve mentioned, getting the kids fully vaccinated will likely be a tipping point for us. COVID-19 will never go away, but once all ages are eligible to get the vaccine, we’ll be more comfortable with traveling again and starting to return to a more normal life. We really want to get back to Philadelphia as soon as we can, and will likely spend a few weeks there catching up with everyone.

I have off from work this week. In spite of taking maternity leave, I did have some vacation to use this year, and I’m just spending it at home. I’ve been struggling a lot with how much I have on my plate, both in terms of work and family. I get very little time to myself, and I am always tired. I spent yesterday doing a bunch of house stuff, mostly related to the kids, and taking them to their annual pediatrician appointment with MJ. With a lot of big tasks behind me, including rotating out Aaron’s clothes (he grows so fast!) and putting away all my breastfeeding supplies, I’m going to try to rest this week and work on some personal projects. Finding the right balance is a little tricky, since there are so many projects I want to work on! But I know how important giving myself some time to watch TV, go on walks, and read is for my mental health right now. I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my family, to come out of this week feeling refreshed so I can be my best me.