Thursday, April 30, 2020

The grading, whoa/woe the grading

Really what I should be doing is GRADING 107 EXAMS because when I am done with those? I NEED TO GRADE 107 FINAL PAPERS.

That's a lot of grading, my friends.

Speaking of a lot. 

There are a lot of us in this house and not a lot of square feet for us to exist in. At least, it used to feel like more square feet when it was just me and Beatrix home all day. Are we moving? NOT ANY TIME SOON. I am not sure if you've noticed, but we are in the middle of a GLOBAL PANDEMIC, and I feel like it's going to affect the real estate markets.

Ben is working round the clock and sometimes even has to go on TV to talk to people which exacerbates the TINY HOUSE problem for sure.

 Bonus! I have time to cook all of the things from scratch. I made so much spaghetti sauce that we are having chicken parm tonight and make your own pizza tomorrow.
 Lots of dance class via Zoom. This week was bring your dog, so Bea got to make an unexpected appearance in the toy room.  SHE DID NOT LIKE.
 So profesh!
 So much baking.

 I seriously love Skip Bo
 A little pre-dinner Spot It
Dance class hostage, trying to escape

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Day one million: same old, same old

When I think about the kids NOT going back to school in the fall, I feel like vomiting everywhere from instant anxiety.  So, that's amazing.  Love it.

How can we do all of the things we are doing now and plus also have a BABY AROUND?!?!?!

Home school is making me crazy because I am pretty sure that Dorothy and Cooper ARE NOT LEARNING as much as they should. And this would not bother me if it was just a temporary thing, but it's THE WAY THINGS WILL BE for awhile, and I just. Gah.

We won't be able to just keep plugging along with district curriculum in the fall. The big decision is do we keep them enrolled and sub in some homeschool stuff too or go rogue and buy our own curriculum, etc?  We will probably do a combo of the two and start the official homeschool stuff this summer.

The thing is, I have always been happy to let school do school, and I have never really encouraged the kids to do academic things at home besides read, and I know this is lazy and terrible, but it has also made me really happy. And now? I have to figure out how to teach children, which is not something IO ever wanted to do or else I would be doing it for my job.

But! So much is wonderful about a BABY!

Dorothy and I went through the most accessible boxes of baby clothes on Saturday.
The greatest hits from all 4 kids:
 I saved most of Dorothy's tiny tiny baby things, but also most of them are covered in poop or puke stains. Lucky little baby 5.
I cannot stop playing Skip Bo-- it is the only game I ever genuinely want to play with the kids. Luckily, Cooper is always up for it.
23 weeks Sunday.  These non-maternity overalls are holding up pretty well.
Dorothy only wears costumes from her dress up bin on the weekends, and I am loving it.

The boys found this picture and recreated it:

And Ben!! Remembered that the 24th is our engagement anniversary (I have never known this date because I am the worst, as I mentioned above) and added lovely flowers to our regular booze, fancy frozen pizza, local ice cream, and gourmet cheese essential pick up.  How sweet!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Pro/Con: the real life edition

Pro: We got a surprise gourmet bread delivery from a friend, and it was delicious!

Pro: Dorothy's dance class had throwback costume day yesterday, which was adorable: (She also wore her tap costume, but I didn't get a pic)
Pro: Beatrix approves of the deck chairs:
Pro: My flour from  Janie's Mill arrived, and I used it to make delectable scones that I frosted with cream cheese glaze instead of the recommended.  DO THIS.
Con: My school is maybe going online in the fall. The kids' school is maybe going online in the fall. And we are SO SICK of e-learning. Also, there will be an infant. OMFG.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Grocery washing and other anxieties

Well, the thing I was really anxious about happened: our Republican legislature is suing the governor over his Safer at Home order, and because there is a 5-2 conservative majority on the WI Supreme Court, they will probably win.

Way to put politics over science and greed over common sense, guys.

Also, I read this article about COVID tests and early releases for moms heading to local maternity wards, and I am suddenly TERRIFIED to have the baby.

Also also, I do thing where I understand that takeout won't kill us (we still haven';t gotten takeout, and to be honest, we probably will not), and I do not have to wash my groceries, but I cannot even help myself. I take anything that can be taken out of outside packaging out, wipe things that can't be unboxed, and wash and prep ALL PRODUCE the day I bring it home.

While this last thing DOES make my normal dinner prep easier, and DOES make us eat more fruits and veggies for snacks (both huge wins!), it also take way too long. Putting away the groceries has become a multi-hour process.  Silver lining: only once a week?

Are you a grocery washer? Even better, are you a recovering grocery washer and how did you stop?

Other things I am worried about:

  • Opening too soon means we will have to shelter longer later
  • Opening too soon means the kids absolutely cannot g back to school in the fall
  • Opening too soon means my university will not open for real in the fall, which means financial ruin
  • Not being able to take the baby outside until it's almost 2 and a total weirdo
  • Giving birth alone and having something go wrong (normal birth alone sounds A-OK)
  • Teaching the kids at home forever and having them be idiots because their teacher is the worst.
I think the reason all of the above scares me is that I cannot control ANY OF IT.

The boys, doing art
 The boys and I have a pandemic book club. We are reading Z for Zachariah right now, and up mext is Armada.

You got any pandemic anxieties on your mind?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Welcome back, anxiety.

I remember being really freaked out in early March before states issued safer at home orders because I knew that we needed to be sheltering in place in our homes and practicing social distancing, but it didn't seem like news outlets had quite gotten it together yet and were still covering the both-sides-ism fiasco re:prepping.

When governors got it together, and we started staying home, I felt my anxiety lessen by about a million percent, even when Dorothy and Cooper and I got sick.  And since we have been sheltering in place? I have felt pretty OK.

Part of this is just the insane privilege of having enough-- enough of all of the things, and I am smart enough to understand that my reality is not everyone's. I understand that of the 22 million people who are unemployed, LOTS AND LOTS of them are getting ZERO help from the government as states scramble to use outdated systems to serve the flood of people applying for benefits. I understand that not everyone who is still working is getting the same salary they had before, that not every job can be worked from home, that people really are desperate to get to back to work.

But I am still more anxious than I have been since before we stayed home now that the total insanity about opening up for business before we're healthy has started to gain momentum. Who is going to feel comfortable going to restaurants or movie theaters or gyms right now? How is shopping in my favorite boutique or spending all afternoon in my favorite coffee shop ever going to be a thing that happens before we have a vaccine? Who has a bunch of extra income to toss back into the economy right now when we're not even sure when we'll hit the bottom?

And the mixed messages from protesters! They are anti-mask! Anti-vax! Neither of these sentiments make me feel good about going out in public around people again.

I took the kids for a walk on campus to sit on a blanket by the lake and play cards yesterday, We saw people, but we never came within 6 feet of anyone, and the sidewalks were less crowded than our neighborhood after dinner.

Still, we were all jumpy when we saw people walking in our line of sight-- which is clearly a sign that we need to get out more-- and even though we wore masks, no one else did (there were a few, but we were in the minority).

All of this is to say that I don't think there's anything to do but stay home, and I am so worried that states will open before it's safe and hurt all of us, leading to even more economic ruin than we are experiencing right now.

How are you managing your anxiety these days? I am just eating a lot and yelling at my loved ones.

Family walk after dinner. Look how excited Cooper was.
She really was excited.
 Yesterday, the first time I blew out my hair since we started staying safer at home:
 Moby Max:
 Morning announcements!
 Working on a literacy assignment
 Go fish by the woods!

 Making a domino rainbow
 Dorothy reading to Ben
 Dorothy write me a note in domino:

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Some questions about balance

My friend Shannon asked on Facebook how people are separating weekends from the rest of the week, and it was such a good question. IT'S SO HARD because, really, all of the days blend together.  

How are you marking time between M-F and S-S? 

 Here's what we're doing:
  • Friday night s are movie night (even though to be completely honest, the last thing I want to do is hang out with the kids for some extra time on Friday-- but more about that later). We also eat junk food for dinner and have ice cream or candy while we watch the movie.
  • Saturdays are really lazy-- like, we seldom get dressed before lunch (a departure from the norm where everyone gets dressed right after breakfast like we are actually going somewhere). I work on Saturdays because while I can keep up with daily maintenance during the week, I cannot do any sort of deep, uninterrupted thinking, and I have several involved projects going on. Working by myself for a few hours on Saturday feels like a wonderful luxury after the week. 
  • Sunday: Family clean day. We clean the house like crazy

Ok, another question: how are you balancing working from home and school for the kids?

I noticed last week that I was spending the whole day annoyed because no one would let me work, and Ben is working crazy hours and is busy literally all day from about 7:30-7 when he forces himself to stop checking his email.

So, I decided to change my expectations of the day and devote basically every waking moment to the kids. If they each need individual time for their school activities, I give it to them even if the last thing I want to do is sit on the floor and watch a phonics lesson on YouTube.

Someone wants to play go fish because they are bored in the afternoon? No problem. I am here for that because honestly? It is more fun that yelling at them to stop fighting or begging them to leave me alone.

I have been trying to sit downstairs and watch a movie with them mid-afternoon because Disney Plus is awesome and also because that's about 90 minutes of work time for me, interrupted only by snack and drink fetching.

So, I work uninterrupted for 90 minutes before they wake up, 90 minutes mid-afternoon, and and hour after they go to bed. The other 4 hours are spread out between 7 am when the kids wake up and 8 pm when they go to bed. Sometimes, I get long chunks and can usually pull off another hour between breakfast and the start of school, but sometimes, I am 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there.

 I put all meetings on the calendar, but Ben's usually take precedence, so it can be stressful. 

Because my class was fully prepped for the semester when the pandemic hit, I have had to record all of my remaining lectures (DONE!!!) and rewrite exams (DONE!!), but the bulk of my teaching time is spent talking to students via email or on the phone about their final papers and GRADING SO MICH GRADING.

There are 107 students in the course, and I have a TA, but she is really overwhelmed writing her dissertation prospectus and dealing with the ramifications of shelter in place, so I have taken over most of the grading. I am OK with this. I like reading their work, and grading is the kind of thing that I can do in increments, so everything is working out.

The large class I direct is going well, I think. We had to rework the exams, and I deployed a TON of content from the online version of the course. We are checking in with our instructors, but so far, things seem smooth. I miss our staff meetings, and I am looking forward to seeing everyone in the fall semester. WITH A BABY!

For me, accepting that the kids need me more than I need to work uninterrupted and that I can find the hours in the day if I am creative about them has really boosted the happiness factor around here, but it does not seem to be the most efficient, and I never have any time to read. I am working on that.

I am also doing most of the housework, and it is hard to not feel like I am am working the hardest, but you guys. IT IS NOT A COMPETITION. My work is flexible, so I have time to do these things AND succeed. I know all of this, but it is hard not to feel like a martyr. Only a few more weeks like this and then school is out for summer. I am on leave from teaching in the fall, so things will slow down for me.

But, still, I want to hear how others are making it work.

Coper sometimes needs incentive in the form of total junk food to do his work **shrug**
 Masks to do a quick curbside pharmacy pick up
 LOVE THIS ONE THE MOST-- Tiger King for the win!
 The kids get really salty right before dinner. We have cut off all snacks at 4:30 because otherwise the grazing is constant. They usually play together and fight to the death right before dinner, and this game of go fish turned violent in no time.
 Starting the garden!
 Looking pregnant! I think* I am 23 weeks today, but I may have lost count.
 Creepy takeover of Barbie's house