Friday, March 27, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 10-ish

So Washington State (our state) has had schools closed for 2 weeks now. I'm lucky my kiddo doesn't have much she can fall behind on (and with the whole nation 'falling behind', I don't really believe it's a thing - we're just moving the goal posts around for this generation).

At her age, we can sort of throw basic ideas at the walls and see what sticks - and that's the plan for the day. One of the things that makes me an effective coach in the gym is a fairly strong intuition. So now, I get to focus that around at home. Like I've said before, we have a basic plan, as the days start to string together. We can plan ahead a bit since we can rely on a few facts:

1) Everything will continue to be closed.

2) Magnolia Forest School teachers working hard to keep the kiddoes connected. The Impossible Girl misses her friends a lot, but the teachers have a consistent way of showing up for these kids via lots of Live videos and media - to keep them all engaged and connected. They shifted from a Tution model to a donation model to adapt to so many of us who are losing some income and yet keep our teachers around and employed during this time of seperation. Giving those of us with a somewhat uneven income forcast room to breath is such a gift. (If you want to do something for The Impossible Girl for Easter - donate here.)

Apollo goes to school with The Impossible Girl this morning learning all about mixing colors during storytime.
 3) There is always going to a craft or recipe to make. Today, it was Bath Time Playdough. Ours turned out to be a colorful mix between slime and playdough, but she had a lot of fun mixing and making it (and my septic tank won't hate me later).

 4) We have good boots, which means there is ALWAYS a way to get outside and create adventure. Every single day. Today it was cold and windy, so she tried on a new hoodie from a care package from My Sailor (before all of this madness started) and put a stuffed animal buddy in the backpack and we were off! About a quarter mile in, she opted to climb in and out of some of the storm drain areas, building her own adventure as we went on a hunt for Stinging Nettles. We found some and tomorrow we'll be back there with gloves and a bucket to do some foraging. I'm curious to see what Nettle Tea tastes like!

5) There is a unicorn that likes string cheese and pretzels that lives in the back of my car.

Without playgrounds to climb around in, we've gotten pretty creative. When it's too cold/windy/wet to picnic on the front lawn, we picnic in the back of the car. She climbs over the seats, from the front to the hatchback and back again over and over and over. She's really good at it now, and I bring us a picnic style lunch in the back of the car. She eats it without complaint (apparently an invisible Unicorn pet lives in the car too. It lunches with us often as well.) and gets some energy out.  

I have some plans for this later on down the road. I'm thinking dinner tail gate or pretend Drive In may happen if I get truly ambitious.

6) Something will go wrong - and it's probably going to be okay. 
Today, we discovered that The Impossible Girl is allergic to... something? Either outside or in her new hoodie. Her neck and back broke out in a short lived rash... So the hoodie will get an extra wash and we'll have to see if it happens tomorrow on our walk back to our Stinging Nettle spot.

7)  Play is a PRIORITY. 

The Impossible Girl is an only child at the moment (aside from the furkids). When I worked a day shift and an evening shift, our lives looked like this:
  7:30-8:30am Wake up and dressed for work and drop the kid off too.
  1pm-3:30pm Run Errands/Rest
  4pm-6:30pm She goes to Child Watch and I go to work.
  6:30pm-8:30pm Commute home, Dinner, bathtime and bed.

There really isn't much room for extended play in that schedule. And it always bothered me every time I'd have to put off her invitations to play. She is usually a good sport about it, but right now, I am her only playmate. She has already experienced a lot of loneliness over the last few months. While I can't take up every single offer to play (as there are lots of chores and cleaning happening right now), I can make sure I take her up on as many of those offers as I can.

And I'm going to be honest - it's not all about her. It never has in. Playing helps lift my spirits too. As the cheif adult in charge, I need that release as well.

I went through some of my older photos from work - and it all rings true.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.
All the investment, even the little things, COUNT.
If there is an gift to these incredibly challenging circumstances, it's left me with time to invest in the little things once again.
Little things add up to big things.

When the World Paused - Day 9

The day was dry, which made it easier to enjoy some outdoor fun. Our obstacle course and maze were washed away by the rain, so we made a little hopscotch course and I included some light kettlebell work into the mix.  It was another great reminder that play counts as movement - and it ALL adds up! I have no idea if I've lost weight during this lock down or not (I only weigh myself once a month), but it's safe to say I haven't spent it sitting around much. 
Our day had the rythm of waking up, doing breakfast and 'checking on' the animals at the San Diego Zoo (via their live webcams), 'going to school' (via online live facebook videos), and then running necessary errands. We picked up our last school lunch for a while on our way to pick up groceries at Walmart via grocery pick up, and a few necessities from a friend's porch. I learned how to sanitize groceries and have cleared off and made good use of our dining room table (which tends to get covered with toys quickly). Then we hung out in the car and drew hopscotch on the pavement and played. 
 We had a late snack picnic in the back of the car of grapes, pretzles, and string cheese before heading inside to relax.

Dinner was delivery sushi after a significant coupon. (Much to my glee, The Impossible Girl has finally decided she likes rolls as well as her favorite Sashimi. She was an expensive sushi date! Now we can fill that hole with rice too.)
Learning to use chopsticks - but rolls are so big! lol
It was a good day, which was much needed after the low of the day before.

I got an email that our Great Wolf Lodge reservation next month is canceled, since they will be closed now through May 19th (instead of April 12th). I'm not surprised, though a bit disappointed that it's further proof the world will be quiet for a long time to come.

I'm incredibly grateful for my friends in the podcast world right about now. Window to the Magic has put out an episode a day, which we are catching up on and loving our audio tours of Disneyland. It's just like going to the parks with my friend Paul (the founder, creater, and all around magic maker behind). Hearing the bustle of human life does my heart good while we cocoon. I've always enjoyed the show, but now it seems to bring an easy smile that feels harder to come by some days.

The weather is turning to cold, windy, and rainy, which makes it easy to want to hibernate inside, but we're doing our best to get outside every day. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 8

Today started far too early. At about 4am, The Impossible Girl crawled into my bed... only to find me trying to put together a grocery order that we could pick up in a reasonable (like 48 hour-ish) time frame. So any ideas of getting back to sleep together weren't happening. Once it was done, I decided to give in to the request for screen time and let her watch some Disney+ on my laptop while I tried to sleep for a bit longer. It was broken sleep, but we ended up not getting out of bed until after 8:30. I definately needed the lie-in. 
In fact, today she didn't get out of her PJs until it was time for a bath and new PJs before bed.

Playdough learning via the web and her awesome school teachers.

We learned about yellow and blue making green, and she also built a frog.
 After school time (via Facebook live) was done, we 'visited' the San Diego Zoo and I read to her about the Dung Beetle, Artic Fox, and butterflies before diving into the shower so we could go out and pick up a School Lunch. These have been amazingly helpful stop-gaps since it takes us a little longer to get groceries right now, and we're still figuring out the changes in our day to day operations. They help us stretch the supplies just a little bit longer.  She really enjoys going through the bags to see what she gets too.
TWO Chocolate Milks?! JACKPOT! 
 One thing I do know is that I'm not willing to brave a grocery store with a kid that gets pnuemonia almost every time she gets an upper respiratory virus. That viral asthma is a pain to deal with anyway - COVID -19 not withstanding. And the other part of that is, I am her caregiver. I can not get sick. The nearest family that might be able to help is over an hour away. So the goal is - don't get sick and don't give germs either.

But some days, we just miss people and we miss them hard. Some friends dropped off a Leapster for her to play with. I thought she'd be excited. Instead, she was wrecked. Not at the gift, but because she couldn't play with our friends. She didn't want the present right now. After calming down a little bit, she said the present hurts because she misses her friends. She feels like she's being punished. Well, we've all kind of been 'sent to our room', but it's hard for her to really understand that she didn't do anything wrong. That our friends can't hang out with us, not because of her, but because of germs.

Later that day, one of her teachers sent her her first pen-pal letter. The envelope is adorable, decorated with a hand-drawn Olaf and snowflakes, with an awesome astronaut stamp. She was NOT excited about it, nor wanted anything to do with it. It made her sad all over again.
All I can do is bring my calm to her storm. To understand that she's sad and confused and frustrated and annoyed and a million other innurmerable things. Emotions run high for even the most pragmatic person right now, so I understand she's completely valid in her feelings.

And it likely isn't helpful that she's had a very low grade fever that has come and gone (but other than that and complaing of being tired, basically symptom free).

After reaching out for help, they may have stumbled across the obvious peice I was missing in my acknowledgement of her feelings. I wonder if I've been misunderstanding her sadness as a thing that stands alone. Some reassurance from family helped remind me that sometimes, even when we aren't fixing a problem that may be beyond us to fix - we're doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing.  It was a helpful reminder that my job isn't to fix this. I can't anyway. I can't do a damned thing about the schools being closed. I can't do anything but keep flying solo and figuring this out. What I CAN do (and do do) is give her permission and validation to feel however she's feeling. To hear what she's trying to say and give her a safe space to feel however she needs to feel.

I've always worked hard as a professional to be a coach that is in the trenches with my clients. This long pause in the world has caused me to do more and more of that on the homefront than professionally. It's demanding - and I guess my ask for help was an ask for clarity and some reassurance that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. But the truth is there is a lot of loss right now - a LOT of seperation that we didn't really get to prepare for. But it won't last forever.

It's not 'Stop'.

It's just 'Pause.'

Monday, March 23, 2020

When The World Paused - Day 7

We planted these the day the schools closed.
Sprouting even in adversity.
Gotta love a good metaphor.

After giving myself a week to figure things out, I feel like we have a rythm and a confidence in this every changing, quietly terrifying world we're existing in right now. We're currently in an offical state of "Stay Home; Stay Healthy" here in Western Washington. Only essential business are allowed to operate and we aren't supposed to be out unless it's essential. Luckily mental health and fresh air is considered essential. Though our days of partonizing local drive through coffee shops are over for the time being, I'm eternally grateful that we can still get outside. It truly is my sanity. 

My Sailor sent me a care package - including this Tervis.
It couldn't have been more apt to our current situation, even though this was packed before our current situation evolved.

We got a care package today from My Sailor. It was a much needed boost that I knew was coming, but opening the small box of shirts, magnets, keychains, and a Tervis was more heartening than I expected. 

The weather is threatening to turn, and The Impossible Girl didn't feel up to doing too much outside today (just commenting she was very tired, so I let that ride today), but we had on errand to run. A friend in Port Orchard had found a bag of dog food for us while she was shopping for herself yesterday, so we sent her the money and drove over to get it from her today. (I'm avoiding grocery stores with The Impossible Girl due to her viral activated asthma. Most upper respiratory things end up in pnuemonia, so given the current circumstances, we're playing it safe.)

We left very early and partonized a small drive through coffee shop for a cookie (for her) and caffine (for me). We took the long way to drive through some backroads with the windows down. It was a windy day, but it was fun to turn off the radio and just talk about what we saw.
View of Bremerton shipyard from Manchester/Port Orchard Area
Needless to say, life is much simpler right now. While I'm constantly busy, and The Impossible Girl is constantly in motion, we're finding some grooves that seem to fit for now. She understands that most things are closed "because of germs". For 4 years old, that's a pretty good grasp on the current situation.

When we got home, we started on the long overdue task of fully cleaning and sanitizing my car - the car we usually ride around in.

 I wonder if the kids of this hiccup in time will end up being cleaning/neat freaks? We are certainly aware that we are living in a profound moment in history that we never saw coming. But now that the shock has warn off, it's feeling more and more normal.

But it hasn't stopped us from diving into crafts, school, online 'feild trips' to the zoos and aquariums (watching live camera feeds in tanks and enclosures).
Our cardboard roll family

Boxes make great tunnels.
 She even dug into some old party favors I've had around -including temporary face tattoos.
While some families have developed a solid schedule, we tend to keep things pretty loose. I set some goals for the day (like: tune in live to her teacher's feeds on Facebook at 10am, lunch around noon and outside time in the afternoon/evening for about 2 hours, then dinner around 5:30-6:30. Bath and bedtime 7:30-8:30) and then basically throw out some activity ideas (or don't ) and see what sticks for her. Bordem is the mother of invention though, so we figure things out as we go - and that's okay.

I'm incredibly grateful I'm still able to work - though not to my prefered ability, I'm able to keep going for the moment, and help my clients manage their stress levels through this crazy period of time as we try to flatten the curve of COVID-19.  

Thursday, March 19, 2020

When the World Paused - Day 3

Today I had to go out and get The Impossible Girl's back up asthma meds filled - just in case. The goal is NOT to end up at the hospital if at all possible. We went to a local Safeway (to pick up the meds and a few loose ends) and, though there were few shoppers, I was surprised at how many people didn't have any interest in keeping the recommended personal distance. Though I expect we've already been well exposed through working in high traffic public places, we're still going to continue to act like we have the bug that we don't want to share - because if we don't we don't want The Impossible Girl to get it.

So here's a quick highlight reel from day 3 in lock down.

Let me say - I am incredibly grateful for technology. If this had happened 15 years ago, it would have been an entirely different ball game. Now, thanks to the net, we can keep up with her school teachers every day through videos they make for us. We can video chat with friends and family, and we have never ending entertainment options at our fingertips thanks to streaming services. The weather is also finally turning, making it easier and easier to want to get outside. Outside has been my saving grace.

Listening to her teacher read a story while she sorts blocks. 

This was why we went to the pharmacy/store today. Food is stocked, but shelves for paper goods were empty by 11am,

Thanks to our local Buy Nothing community, we were able to grab this new playmate for my kiddo, washed, ready and waiting for us outside of her door. It added an extra spark into her day for sure. 

Giving our summer camp sandals a test run on some new local trails we haven't explored before.

It's fun to explore outdoors.

Building balance on a stump
 I can sense the sadness that The Impossible Girl has when she can't reach her friends. She's been amazing at powering through, and we are finding a routine that involves a lot of 'Throw it a the wall and see if it sticks."  Viceo chats with friends and family help, but sometimes she doesn't want any part of them, because they have to end and she'll have to say goodbye and be melancholy for missing them again. Sometimes it's easier just to distract yourself from the pain that is in the outcome. But often times the joy of living in the moment makes it a little easier for a while.
This is what it looks like when a 4 yr old gets to video chat with her school buddy she's been missing over dinner.

While walking through the forest today, I took a deep breath, looked at the kiddo, and had to admit that - while I'm far from a perfect parent - I can say that I believe we are instilling in her the "trust your gut" way of life. Living with intention and a plan is helpful, of course.  It's a place to push off from - but sometimes plans form along the way if you open your mind up to getting there.

This whole experience so far has reminded me too to reach out for what I need. I have a few friends up here and am well supported. Tomorrow, I'll be taking advantage with a request. Helping each other is the name of the game right now. Sometimes you're the helper. Sometimes you're the recipient.  Sometimes you may be a bit of both.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

When The World Paused - Day 2

It's day 2 for us of near complete social isolation. A small rythm is starting to develop to our days, since we began doing this last Friday, but had more options available to go out at that time. Now, we're basically at home all the time. 

From an economic standpoint, it's interesting. I'm still working, though a bit reduced, thanks to technology. I can coach online, though it's far from my preferred way of doing things. 

This morning we took a digital field trip to the San Diego zoo. The kids portion of their website has live cameras in several enclosures. So while we ate our breakfasts, we spotted a tiger pacing around its enclosure, three polar bears having snacks, and an owl looking around as if confused that the park was empty as well. We played games on the website and then 'went to school'. 

We did the preschool's watch party hosted by one of her teachers. She doesn't tend to interact much, but today they did a little education about woodpeckers and talked about a woodpecker they missed seeing at school. She played with blocks (the theme of the week for this week) and showed me what a woodpecker would do. 
Showing me how a woodpecker pecks

 We watched some TV and laid low until lunch. Afterwards we went outside. The Impossible girl rode her tricycles, and did about a million laps through the obstacle course, finding new ways to do it and play with it over the hour or so we played there.

Eventually that evolved into tag in the backyard, hide and go seek, and fort building.

 A popcicle break back inside for a little more down time before my last face to face client 'for now'.
 Finally, dinner and a face tattoo and bedtime.
 Once she was asleep, I wanted to crawl into bed and fade into sleep again. but opted to sit down and do a Zoom call with my in-laws. Not a bad day, but Apollo has the right idea here.

There is something strange about existing during this time. It's terrifying, but it's also incredibly peaceful and quiet. I enjoy the quiet - because we as humans always feel the need to fill it. Some of the most brillant creative thoughts come from quietude and boerdum.  I guess that's how everyone must be feeling right now -hurt, exhausted, anxious, and as prepared as we can be for whatever is coming. I am incredibly grateful for technology and for having a house with land on both sides, so we can play AND be socially distant. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

When the World Paused - Separate to Survive.

It started in China, this virus I heard about on the news, and it has spread around the world. The number of people infected and the number of lives taken numbers in the thousands at the time I'm writing this, it's infected 138 countries round the world (according to the CDC).

But as news of it started to spread over NPR, it seemed unfathomable that this disease would ever touch us here in the United States. Why? I don't know.
Probably because as Americans we often forget that we are part of the human race after all.
We suffer from Magical Thinking. It gives us hope and drive, but also nearly instinctual arrogance.
We forget that our biology isn't any different than anyone else's.

 Our hurbis turned to humility quickly when the numbers started coming in for our state. Currently, there are 780 people with the virus, and it spreads quickly and easily - and can be lethal for those who are compromised.

And here is my little family - a short ferry ride away from the big kick off in America for COVID-19, and a short driving distance from the last reported confirmed case, with more likely coming down the road.

But my blog isn't here to talk about medical information or facts and figures. How are we faring during all of this?

It's been a surreal experience - so far.
This weekend we went to Port Ludlow and flew a kite on the beach and hiked around checking things out. These moments of fresh air are what is going to keep me level and sane - I can already tell.

When My Sailor does contact me, there really isn't much else to talk about, so we discuss what we've heard, what we know, how I'm planning and prepping to keep me and The Impossible Girl safe, and whatever he can tell me of what he's going through. He can't be with us through this, and it's been a true test of my grit and honesty.

Last week, they government closed the schools on Friday. The next day, they closed gatherings of over 250 people.Sunday night, they closed bars and eateries (excluding take out and delivery), and all other recreational centers - including the Y's I worked so hard to get into.

Social Distancing practices require us to be about 6-10 feet away from anyway, and that sounds like a good idea to me - especially since we have someone in the family who would likely be severely affected if she caught this bug. 
The Impossible Girl has had pnuemonia 3 times in 4 years.
 Almost every time she gets an upper respiratory bug, we end up with a chest x-ray and a breathing treatment in the ER. She was diagnosed with asthma earlier this year (that only seems to kick off hard when she gets an upper respiratory thing). She also has some neurological ticks that we can't quite seem to get to the bottom of, but look like a mild form of childhood epilepsy (just very difficult to trigger for EEGs, and again, they kick up more when she is ill). She tends to catch every virus coming down the pike, so she's the VIP right now. 
Some days are hard and we mostly communicate in grunts, tears, and cuddles.
And although she doesn't quite understand it yet - separation is hard enough when My Sailor has to leave, but adding to that the fact that she can now no longer play with her friends, go to school, or the Y, or anything that feels normal and inclusive - and it's been a bit of a rough day so far. 

This weekend was pretty much a normal weekend in our book. I listened to the news and explained further hand washing. (We've gotten into the habit of making a game of counting to 20 while we wash our hands more often.) We talked about germs and how there won't be any school next week because we need to stay away from people right now to not pass germs and to keep everyone healthy since there is a really bad germ going around right now.

She understood that explanation - but she didn't understand what that meant until today. 
Doing our best to support fellow struggling small businesses, we bought 2 drinks and a box of muffins from our favorite small bakery (Fuelrz). I called ahead and placed the order. When we arrived, I parked in front of the walk up window. The Impossible Girl wanted to go sit inside. I told her we couldn't because there is a lot of sickness going around right now and we don't want to share germs from the store. The worker santized her hands, put the drinks and the muffins on the window for me to pick up. She stepped back and I grabbed them and left. And THAT has been the extent of our face to face interaction with people. Social Distancing measures demand we keep 6-10 feet away from others - so we are. 

We got home and ate the muffins just in time for her preschool's Watch Party. Since they can't have school, the school is providing us with a means of staying connected and helping us set the tone for home based learning. Once a day, a teacher does a Watch Party on Facebook and talks to the kids, sets up a theme for learning time (today was a block building party), and reads a story to them. While it's not terribly interactive, it is a great way to let The Impossible Girl know that her friends care about her and miss her - just like she misses them. 
Block party tower building
 For lunch, we went to the front yard and did a picnic. It got us outside and gave her a sense of control. She got to pick what we put in the lunch (pears, string cheese, veggie straws, and a hot dog) and she picked the blanket we laid in the overgrown grass to picnic in. I am hoping it felt a little bit like school (recap: she goes to a Forest Preschool - so she's usually playing outside in the woods for 4 hours a day).
 We dug out her helmet and her pink tricycle she got for her birthday a few years ago. She can pedal it a bit now, but I realized that the driveway had too many pine needles and pine cones. So we grabbed brooms and raced across the driveway cleaning it off a bit.

Which lead to drawing a race track for our hot wheels we took out with us to the picnic...
Race track
 Which lead to a whole little obstacle course we drew in chalk. Half way through, she tripped and fell and scraped her hand, and that ended outside time, but we got a few hours in.

We saw almost no cars. A few neighbors made the walk and we waved to them as they passed, but it's very strange to think that this is likely how the next few days will go...

I made dinner while she got some tv time, then a bath and bed.

My mind is racing with 'to-do's, between the switch to going completely remote with my business to concerns about my own self-care, to wondering if my brother will make the trip to see me this weekend - or if his flight will be canceled and our cabin rental will be for naught. (It's in the woods even FARTHER away from people - so we'll be killing it with our social distance practice.)

Now, I've always liked my quietude in my adult life. Once I made peace with lonliness, it was no longer an enemy. I don't fear it. In fact, occasionally I've often choosen it when my spirit needs a recharge. But forced isolation is something entirely different. Part of me is tapping into those lessons to enjoy the quiet, while the other parts are going a bit crazy internally.

This doesn't seem like it's going to be a terribly temporary situation. We as a nation, culture, and race seem to be going through something that will change the way we relate to each other, the way we interact with each other, and the way we teach our kids forever.  In the quiet, I was glad that we had an up to date will, so The Impossible Girl would go to the right people to help out if something happened to My Sailor and me. Because, well, now it could.

The hardest part of today is that NOW she seems to understand what all this separation means. It means no, you can't go play with your friends. No, playgrounds aren't safe right now. No, we can't go to the zoo. No, the Kids Museum is closed. Lots and lots of 'no' to things that would normally be completely healthy. It makes me wonder how this period of time should it linger on (and I expect it will) will effect the next generation. Those that are kids right now being told to not hug, see, touch, their friends.

She's already dealing with My Sailor being under the sea. I'm frustrated she has to deal with this too.

Me? I'm annoyed that my hands are already starting to look like they've gone a few rounds on a speed bag from the super frequent hand washing. I have medical grade lotion working on them. I'm disappointed that all my big plans for activities and events to do with Beanie Girl are cancelled (though I agree to why). And I'm proud of myself of navigating it well enough so far. I've always been the kind of person you want in a crisis. I have a momentary freak out, but my brain is already ramped up looking for solutions to problems as they arise.

1 day down. Who knows how many to go...

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

And the beat goes on

Tonight, we got home a little later than usual. I didn't have a dinner prepped, so tonight was quick and simple.Cauliflower pizza and salad.  It was done cooking by 7:20.

The Impossible Girl was too tired to eat it, so she finished some avocado in exchange for watching a youtube of a new attraction opening in Walt Disney World. Then we headed to bed.

And she wanted to play with me. She wanted me to play Kristoff, and she wanted me to play legos. But after 5 minutes of Kristoff, I went to get her bed ready and noticed she had an accident the night before, so I had to change her sheets and clean it up.  There was no extra play time.

She wanted to play with me. She wanted to connect. She was very tired and wanted to spend time with me to prolong closing her eyes until tomorrow. 

That brought me to a glaring realization. That I am doing exactly the right thing right now.

As much as I'd love to be neck deep in some Olympic Weightlifting programming, or have some large even and goal on the horizon - I purposely didn't set one on the calendar right now. 

Last week, when she got sick...
I'm amazed how little time we have together, even though she isn't in full day school. The average is about 3-5 hours a day. 1 in the morning (getting ready for school), our afternoon break, and then maybe 1.5-2 between dinner and bed. That's it. 
Our current schedule includes me working while she goes to school. I go straight from work to pick her up in the afternoon and we get 1-2 hours of down time after school (I try to accomplish a chore in this time frame). She goes into Child Watch for another 3 hours and I go back to work. I try to be done around 6-6:30pm so we can do the dinner, bath, and bed routine. With a little luck, she's in bed by 830pm, and I gear up to study and then fall asleep myself.
  But I recognize the neediness. 
 We've both been sick. For her, that means her lungs and neurological stuff flares up on top of a cold.  And no matter my stuffy now, she needs time and attention. She needs me present. She needs me to say YES to those play invitations more often than, "Sure honey, right after I do fill-in-the-need-here". 
Two days later during down time. My Kingdom for a nap!
Right now - this phase in life isn't about events and spending two hours in the gym for myself. It's about making time for myself while making sure she has the love she needs at home. Because right now - I'm it. 

I am incredibly grateful for the growth mind set that I've discovered through the process of changing careers. I do my workouts now when I can, and I do what I like and what feels right in the moment. Because right now, it's about moving well, sanity, health, and making sure I'm recovered enough to rise to the challenge of a new day. It's made it easier to figure out how to adapt. So instead of hours in preparation for a meet, I opt to sneak in my workouts everyday, doing something that feels good and boosts my health and spirit (my #JoyfulMovement experiment) and spend my energy focusing on being very present in the moment. Whether that moment is work, or family, or my studies. 

Because I deserve it - and so does she.