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Trees, flowers, and a lake with the kiddos

Losing Caligula has been hard. I keep finding cat toys tucked behind doors and under furniture. This particular grief is definitely going to take some time to resolve, it’s been years since I’ve lived without a pet, and he was so incredibly special to me.

Earlier this month was the Jewish holiday of Tu BiShvat, known for being about trees. It was a bit too gloomy for us to go outside and commune with any trees this year, but we did want to observe it in a tree-y way, and so we did a bit of hand print tree art!

I haven’t been doing as much art with the boys as I’d like, partially because we’re still slogging our way through a cascade of illnesses every few weeks (having a kid in preschool is so fun!). Once I have the energy, I’m using it to clean the house or rotate their clothes yet again (how do they grow so fast?!), and then our activities are more of the toy-playing nature. Right now I seem to have a bit of a cold, which isn’t fun, but this is one of the more mild ones to sweep through lately.

The week of Valentine’s Day I got to experience my first four consecutive days of solo parenting. The pandemic changed a lot for us, with everyone being home for what ended up being nearly three years, MJ and I haven’t been going on any business trips like we used to. That changed last week when MJ went out of town for a conference. Our au pair was also traveling for vacation, so Sunday I had the boys on my own, and then we had a close family friend come by to watch the boys from Monday through Wednesday just while I worked, so I didn’t need to take time off.

That still meant keeping the boys occupied every morning and evening on my own, which I’m definitely not used to. I have a lot of fun with my kiddos, but having a two year old and a four year old is a lot of work, especially since the two year old still hasn’t quite gotten the hang of sleeping all night without waking up crying now and then, thus interrupting my sleep too. I was grateful to have the daytime help though, plus she was kind enough to do dishes, take out the trash, and do laundry for the kids, meaning the house did not descend into chaos while everyone was gone.

I’m not eager to repeat everyone being away, but I will say it was also kinda nice to have some time to myself. I didn’t get to write the next great American novel, but I did get to read and write a bit more than usual. I even decided that a little TV would be fine for the boys on Sunday afternoon and read with little Aaron sitting there right on my lap!

To mix up the evenings a bit, we went out to the mall via BART one evening, and I got them a new Duplo set before hitting the pizzeria at the mall. Another evening I joked that we had a rave, since the local dollar store had glowing bracelets and the boys love playing in the dark with flash lights, that bought us nearly an hour of giggly fun!

For Valentine’s Day MJ was still traveling, but sent me a couple dozen pink roses to mark the occasion. I decided to observe the day buy buying a half dozen white carnations and then using some food coloring to make them change colors. I may have created a monster with Adam though, he now periodically asks for the food coloring so we can do it again. I wouldn’t mind doing it from time to time, it’s something I hadn’t done since I was a kid and it really is a lot of fun, and very satisfying to see the flowers slowly take on a new hue.

Both MJ and our au pair returned late on Wednesday night, so I had them back for the rest of the week and MJ this past weekend. We eased into a pretty typical weekend, but on Sunday morning MJ took Aaron grocery shopping after dropping Adam and I off at a local park. It was a beautiful day and he’d been asking to go to a “beach” a lot lately. This wasn’t a beach park, but there was a big lake! He loves exploring nature and enjoys taking in scenery, so he’s my little hiking buddy. I also knew that the weather was about to take a turn for the chilly, so it was likely the last time we’d be able to get outside for a big adventure like this for a couple weeks.

And now I’m back in the middle of my work week, dealing with this cold. I’m hopeful it passes swiftly, but until then I’m grateful for cold medicine and decongestants that are allowing me to feel slightly better than perhaps I should.