This last week has been one of the most stressful and overwhelming weeks of my life. But I’m sick of dwelling on it, so I’m not going to dive too deeply into everything that happened. It’s just been really, really hard. And if this week is any indicator of how every week of virtual school is going to go… I’m not sure how I’m going to survive this school year. It was quite a wake up call to realize just how much we were letting screens babysit our kids over the summer. Take that away and expect them to suddenly be organized and studious and excited about learning? Yeah, not going to happen. I feel like I can’t even complain since Greg was the one working with them literally all day every day because they supposedly needed that much help (or they were just taking advantage of his willingness…). But the chaos and restless down time between new assignments and the arguing about getting back on task and the hours long fighting with Shepard about reading the book he got from his teacher. It was SO MUCH. Too much. Too much on my already very fragile mental state going into fall and deep in mourning about the life I no longer have. I’ve never been a fan of weekends, but I have a feeling that’s going to change this year. It’s probably going to be the only time I can get anything done.
After a truly terrible Monday morning, Shepard and I went to my mom’s to play with the puppies for awhile. We needed a distraction from the worry about the first day. We also picked up some Wendy’s for lunch. Seeing this picture reminds me Shepard has now eaten Wendy’s three times this week. Good parenting…
We spent last weekend getting their rooms in shape so they can hopefully have a clean space to do their schoolwork every day. Shepard’s room is already a huge mess a few days later. Cleaning is not his strong suit! Caden ended up constantly roaming the house with his laptop, never staying in the same spot for more than 20-30 minutes. I had this very wrong expectation that they’d be quietly working in their rooms all day, Greg would be working in his “office” in the laundry room all day, and I’d actually have hours to myself on the main level to sew and cook and keep everything running smoothly. News flash, life is NOT going to be that easy for me. Every single time I even tried to listen to my music or a podcast, Caden suddenly appeared in the room with me watching a class video, so I had to shut my stuff down. It really didn’t help anything on my end.
Shepard was actually really excited on Tuesday morning and very cooperative with our annual first day photo shoot.
I got this one very nice picture of all three of them. Annie, looking so stoic!
One fun thing is that the boys decided to have a porch picnic with a different friend each day. It’s convenient that two of their best friends are also doing virtual school and live within a block of us. And their other friend is Caden’s age so she’s home three days a week. I’m not sure if this is something they’ll do every day, but it was REALLY great just seeing them laugh and talk and hang out with friends. After six months of almost no friend interaction? They need it. I really do hope it becomes a regular thing.
Wednesday turned out to be a really busy day for me, but it was great to have a reason to escape the house for a few hours. I had my first pandemic haircut. It took me a long time to work up to that level of comfort, but I reached the point where I was using such a ridiculous amount of leave in conditioner every day just to get a comb through my wet hair that I couldn’t stand it anymore. Unfortunately, the whole thing was a pretty terrible experience. The stylists were not wearing masks (despite the statewide mandate), she spent the whole time talking about how she refuses to make her kid wear a mask, and I feel like she purposely did a really terrible job cutting my hair to kind of get back at me for wearing one. I’ve been to this girl probably five times and I always love how it turns out. This time was terrible. Fortunately it’s long enough I can still put it up, but I left very frustrated.
Afterward I had a lot of errands and pick ups. I stopped at Pick n Save first because soda was on sale and I’ve been trying to find Cherry Coke Zero for Greg. It’s the only soda he likes and there is apparently a shortage of aluminum and artificial sweetener right now, so Coke is not currently producing it! Then I stopped in at Trader Joe’s as a treat. I love it there, it’s just so far away and inconvenient. Then I had a massive farmers market pick up! I went a bit overboard, but I did have plans ahead of time on how to use everything I bought so nothing would go to waste. I had a little extra time before my next scheduled pick up so I stopped in at TJMaxx and found a fun fall candle and then ordered a coffee in the drive thru of a new coffee shop. I had a Woodman’s pick up order next and this is when my day went downhill (besides the haircut!). They lost my order and made a big deal about me being there to get it when I never had a confirmation email that it was ready – even though I was there during my scheduled time. It took them so long to figure out that the order was just never put together that I was late for my final pick up at Mod Pizza. Greg told me to just come home with the pizza and he went back to get the groceries later. And half of the things I ordered were “out of stock” – probably because they were rushing to get it done. (Like 2% milk. Are you really telling me that nowhere in the gigantic dairy section of Woodman’s did they have any brand of 2% milk??) I wish I had just gone in myself to get everything, but I try to avoid grocery stores in the afternoons when they’re so much busier.
The pizza was a nice treat. And just not having to make a meal in general. We haven’t had Mod since Aprilish when we made our very first grocery pick up order at HyVee (also a disaster!). Caden even got a cheese-less pizza and really liked it. I spent the rest of Wednesday night cleaning and cutting produce.
On Thursday I finally finished setting up my fall drinking area. I love it so much! It really makes me happy to have that little corner of seasonal drinks to return to again and again throughout the day.
The boys ended up going to Grandma’s on Thursday night. Considering I was on my fifth or sixth day in a row of total emotional breakdown, I was SO thankful to get them out of the house for a few hours and spend some one on one time with Greg. That rarely happens these days. I made a tasty dinner, we went on a bike ride, and then we both spent some time doing our own things – very rare for him these days too. Caden ended up sleeping over.
Friday during the day was more of the same. But I was excited to spend my evening in the cemetery again, reading and walking. Unfortunately through a series of missed communications, Shepard ended up getting left home alone, so soon after I got there I had to go back to pick him up to join me. Not the peaceful night I was looking for, but it was actually really nice to have one on one time with him and discuss a whole lot of topics related to death (lol). If I could bring Annie into the cemetery, I’d walk there all the time. I love the peaceful silence of it. But alas, I am a rule follower above all else and dogs are not allowed!
Yesterday I had never been so happy to see a Saturday! But I knew it would still be a long day (Caden lost screens for three weeks), so we went to my mom’s again for a few hours to play with the pups. Then in the evening the guys went to have dinner with the grandparents, so I had a little time to myself.
I was also supposed to have all day today to myself, but the rainy weather changed everyone’s plans. I know it wasn’t anybody’s fault, but I realized the only thing getting me through this last week was knowing I’d have today. And then I didn’t have it anymore. I was pretty upset all morning, but Greg took the hint and still left the house with them for a few hours. I wish it could have been more, but it did give me enough time to finally lower my stress levels. And Shepard ended up staying at Grandma’s for a sleepover, so it’s been a pretty low key afternoon with just one kid around.
I really wanted to start being super on top of meals this week. It turned out to be the last thing in the world I felt like doing every afternoon, but I got through it! I made waffles and bacon (not pictured) for the last day of summer, Korean tacos for the first day of school, enchiladas, blts, pimento tomato bacon sandwiches, a skillet cookie, roasted salsa, stir fry and chicken brown rice, grilled chicken shawarma, two kinds of watermelons I chopped up, and a big cheese plate to end the week.
I got a new phone on Tuesday. Which turned out to be a very exciting surprise because it takes AMAZING sunrise photos! I take pictures every single morning that I bike, but rarely post them because they look so disappointing in the photo. Not anymore! The day I caught this one…Thursday, I think, was incredible. I saw that it looked like a good one so I biked as fast as I could to this countryside road to capture it before the colors weakened. I’m really excited about my new photo possibilities!
And that was the week. I guess despite “not dwelling on it,” this was still a pretty negative recap of the week. I know it was just the beginning and things are sure to be tricky as we all navigate this new way of doing school. It’s not even school itself that is my issue. It’s how difficult the boys were being about it. I hope they’ll acclimate to these new expectations and it’ll be easier on all of us. I’d really like to get back to work. I’d really like to not feel on edge and waiting for the next argument or disaster every minute of the day. I am not cut out for living in constant conflict. I just have to keep hoping it’ll get better. And find better ways to manage my stress in the meantime.