More April

April 22nd, 2020

I had a much-needed social distance mom date with a friend this week. We sat in the back of our cars 10 feet apart and gabbed for two hours. One of the things we talked about was how one of the most stressful parts of this already stressful situation is being completely unable to plan anything besides maybe what’s for dinner. Birthdays, vacations, family visits, holidays, summer camps, sports leagues and anniversaries aren’t happening as scheduled. Pretty much all we can look forward to right now is an unknown time some distance in the future where life might go back to being boring and normal and we can complain about stuff like traffic and Dunkin’ making my order wrong.

In a lot of ways, this isn’t that big of a change for me. We don’t live near parents or grandparents or aunts or uncles, so we often spend our holidays as a nuclear family. I’m also an expert at postponed or canceled plans thanks to our life being at the mercy of the Navy. Oh, you thought you had a beach vacation? Too bad, your husband’s work schedule has completely changed and you’re not going. My kids are old hands at Daddy missing their birthday or not seeing him for months at a time so the travel ban that keeps him in New Hampshire is disappointing but not insurmountable.

Unfortunately for me, the way I’ve always handled the uncertainty and inevitable disappointments is by staying as busy as possible. Military families can handle a lot, but we do it with a little help (or a lot of help) from our friends. The combination of social distancing and a completely empty calendar is tough. Add in things like a broken dishwasher or a flooded basement to deal with alone – because although there are people I could call in a life-or-death situation, I feel terrible asking them to leave their houses for something so low on the emergency scale – and I am not the woman I’ve been pretending to be for the last 10+ years. I can do it completely on my own for about 72 hours at a time before having some sort of ugly breakdown.

But I don’t think that’s unreasonable during quarantine. I don’t even feel bad about it. I just keep reminding myself that at some unknown time some distance in the future, life will go back to being boring and normal. Hang in there.

Here is what April 7th looked like at our house:

April 6, 2020 – Day 19

April 7th, 2020

I probably should have started at day 1, but it didn’t seem like such a big deal two weeks ago.

I’ve been spending a lot of time playing dumb games on my phone to distract myself from real life, responsibilities, how loud my house is ALL THE TIME, and because I can’t sleep anymore. It’s not productive or healthy.

Then I remembered I had this long-neglected blog where I used to document our everyday lives as they happened. This time period doesn’t feel that different from 11 years ago this week when I had a brand new baby for the first time and I felt trapped, with an overwhelming amount of work to do, while also being bored out of my mind.

I’ve managed to keep up a 365 photo project for years now, not quite flawlessly, but pretty close. And although I’ve learned better than to make promises about returning to this space, I do hope I can turn it back into what it was originally meant to be by expanding my one photo a day to several days a week documented in photos. You’ll be seeing a lot of my messy house.

This was the first day of our second week of distance learning. The Davis Academy of Stop Touching Each Other needs to hire both a much better head teacher and a janitor ASAP.

Halloween 2019 – Harry Potter

October 21st, 2019

Last year, Evan really wanted to do Harry Potter costumes for Halloween, but he was outvoted by everyone else who wanted to do The Greatest Showman. I have no regrets about that because those costumes were amazing. I let him do a mini photoshoot in our neighborhood, but didn’t throw myself into it the way I did with our real costumes.

This year, everyone was all in on Harry Potter, although after we made a list of character options, no one actually wanted to be Harry Potter himself. Evan and Caroline wanted to be Weasleys (Ron and Ginny), Lincoln chose Malfoy because he wanted to be mean to his siblings in character, and Finnegan was convinced to be Dobby. I decided I wasn’t dying my hair red again this year, so Mrs. Weasley was off the table, but Professor McGonagall would be perfect. We even convinced E that he should participate in our pictures although he wouldn’t be here for trick or treating. He refused the following costumes: Snape, Prof Quirrell, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Mr. Weasley and anything that required makeup. He settled on being a Death Eater, although now I might be questioning whether or not he’s a good person. Just a little bit.

Because I am nothing if not extra, I decided that not only would we each be an HP character, we were also going to make as many props as possible so we could turn our minivan into Hogwarts for the town Trunk or Treat.

I’ll have details on Hogwarts later, but the rundown on our costumes is at the bottom of the page. I won’t make you read all that before you get to the pictures.

Finnegan (Dobby) – I made the ears and tea towel outfit from fabric store supplies. It took two tries to get the hat right, but it wasn’t that bad.

Lincoln (Draco Malfoy) – Robe is this year’s Target robe, white shirt is H&M, sweater was already in his closet, black dress pants are Walmart, shoes are from last year’s costume.

Caroline (Ginny Weasley) – robe is borrowed from a friend but the label says it’s Rubies Costumes *I don’t think it’s the same as the one currently on Amazon, based on the reviews*, shirt was from Goodwill, sweater from Old Navy, skirt is French Toast from Amazon, socks are from Amazon, shoes were already in her closet.

Evan (Ron Weasley) – Robe is last year’s from Target, white shirt is from last year’s costume, sweater was already in his closet, black pants are from Walmart, shoes were already in his closet.

All the ties came from Amazon, but they were adult-sized so I shortened and hemmed them.

E (Death Eater) – Robe is from Amazon, plain white mask was purchased on Amazon but I decorated it with hot glue and paint, everything else he already owned. Tattoo is fake and also from Amazon.

Suzanne (Prof McGonagall) – I made the robe with cheap fabric from the fabric store and lined the sleeves with Deathly Hallows fabric. Hat is from Amazon, decorated with fabric store feathers and a button I had in my button box. The brooch, shirt, skirt, and boots are all from Goodwill.

I made all the wands with chopsticks from Amazon, hot glue, and paint. I got the idea from this tutorial and it was VERY fun to make them.

Props: Scabbers the rat is from Amazon, the spider is part of our Halloween decorations, and we made baby madrakes out of tin foil, homemade clay and craft store supplies. Tom Riddle’s diary is from Amazon and the cauldron is from CVS.

We took the pics at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. Notable alumni include a bunch of governors, CEO of the Boston Red Sock, and the founders of Tom’s of Maine, Momofuku and Shake Shack. Non-notable alumni include lacross stick in a bowtie Tucker Carlson. It’s about 40 minutes from our house, but it was totally worth the drive because it was gorgeous and a pretty good stand-in for Hogwarts.

(exact links coming soon)

There you go, our family Harry Potter Halloween Costumes for 2019! Three years in a row makes this a pretty definitive tradition now, so if anyone has suggestions for next year I’m open to them. I don’t think I have very many years left where Evan will agree to be anything besides a Fortnite character or a scary mask, so I’m going to keep being as extra as possible while I can.

First Day of School 2019

September 30th, 2019

Only a month late! Much better than the last day of school post from June.

This year, Evan is in 5th grade, Caroline is in 4th grade and Lincoln is in Kindergarten (although he keeps insisting to me that he’s in first grade and I literally double checked to make sure I wasn’t the one who was confused).

That means they ALL go to the same school. This is the only year that will happen and boy do we all love it. They love riding the bus together and seeing each other during the day, I love only having one bus time in the morning and afternoon and having a full day at home with just Finnegan.

Evan has a male teacher for the first time ever and he is having a great year so far. He’s playing the trumpet again and swears he’s going to actually practice this year.

Caroline has the same teacher for 4th grade that Evan did last year. She tells me she still goes to visit her 3rd grade teacher every day and sometimes helps her with the class. I would be super doubtful that that was true…except it’s Caroline. She’ll probably have a paying job in the office by the end of the year somehow. She is going to play the flute in band as well as singing in the chorus.

Lincoln has a Kindergarten teacher who might have just stepped out of a movie about the perfect Kindergarten teacher. His two years of pre-K totally prepared him for “real” school, so he’s rocking everything so far.

Finnegan isn’t in school yet, although I’m tempted to put him in some sort of nursery school 2 or 3 days a week now that he’s potty trained.

New backpacks are all from Pottery Barn Teen, and I would highly recommend them.

Finnegan: 3 Years Old

September 3rd, 2019

My baaaaaaaaaby isn’t a baby anymore. He’s not even a toddler. He’s *almost* a preschooler.

Now if only I could get him to potty train. (It’s fine. He won’t go to elementary school in diapers, we’ll figure it out. I just hate the part where I can’t ever sit down because I have to walk him to the bathroom 400 times a day.)

Finnegan is a real sweetheart most of the time. He loves people after he pretends to be shy for a few minutes. He’s super brave and a bit of a daredevil, so he hurts himself regularly but it never slows him down. He has a great vocabulary but still a baby voice, so sometimes he’s hard to understand. He’s very smart and has a looooong memory. He can be a real jerk when you’re mad at him, because he’ll just laugh in your face and DGAF about your consequences.

Don’t ask when he’s getting a haircut because he’s not.

Apologies for the wind blowing background noise on the video, we did it at the lake and I didn’t block the microphone well enough.