12 January 2021

Conversations With Kids About Covid-19 & Unusual Times

I wrote this post early last spring and we're still living Covid-19 and other unusual and at times disconcerting events. Thought I would share it as a reminder to me and anyone else about making memories and finding out way through uncertainty.

Spring 2020
I had a very interesting conversation with our Kiddo earlier this week that gave me a lot of insight about what I need to think about as we converse with our kids right now and help them through one of the more stressful times they've experienced in their liv

We were outside enjoying out back patio and she asked me, "So when is this going to be over?" It struck me that on some level she does not understand that we grown ups have no idea what is really happening, what the solution is going to be or how long this is all going to continue. I started thinking, most of the time we adults can answer questions like that pretty clearly. "How long is this (school activity, airplane flight, church meeting or doctor's appointment) going to last?" Parents and other grown ups can usually answer questions like that. We answer most of their questions, most of the time. Our prior life experience have given us at least a basic guesstimate to be able to answer those kinds of questions.

Her follow up questions was yet another I could not answer. "When has this happened before?"

I replied, "On this scale, never. Never...ever...in the history of this country or in the lives of anyone we know has the whole world shut down like this. There is no precedent for this so we just don't know much or what to expect."

I think that was another answer that didn't give her much except to say it's never happened like this before. So we have no history to depend on.

I have no way of knowing how this pandemic situation is going to play out. None. I have never been through this. I don't know anyone who is alive who has been through this. There's no one to ask. There is no book or website to go to in order to get answers. Literally nobody knows. Trying to explain that to your child is discomforting to both parties.

Telling your sweet kid that you don't have any answers feels like a bit of a fail as a parent, not being able to give them some kind of comfort about time frames and why the world is turned upside down. But my hands really are tied here. Teaching her that sometimes adults don't have any answers either is the life lesson. Resilience is the life lesson. Courage, loving our neighbors, taking extreme care of ourselves and our household, these are the critical life lessons we have to teach out of this experience.

I can also teach her to continue to trust in a loving Heavenly Father because he knows all and he knows what we need to do and he knows how this will all end. And He loves us and wants to help us through hard things.

I may be the mom but I don't have any answers. But I have some answers that I think will help. As I try to help myself, my Kiddo and my family through this time there is a lot of listening to do. To my own heart, to each family member's heart. To listen to their worries and fears and talk about how we can all support each other through them. To share the things we are working through so that they know we are experiencing this too and being challenged to grow as well.

I can help make happy memories - celebrating family traditions and making new traditions. Doing fun things they will remember in years to come. I can give extra love and spend more time with each family member. I can lead the way in breaking unhealthy habits and establishing better ones.

I can make super healthy meals together with my family. We can watch something together. We can pull out our joke books and laugh at silly things. We can watch funny friends on the internet. We can share gratitudes every day. We can keep a journal so we have a history of this extraordinary time in our lives.

We may not escape the virus but we can make this worst of times, also the best of times. I remember one when I was in fourth grade. There was a terrible blizzard and for the first time in my life the school sent us all home right after lunch. The power also went out so my parents gathered mattresses around the fireplace in the living room and we all roasted marshmallows and snuggled there together for the night. While that was a time of hardship, I remember that my parents made it fun for us and I have very distinct memories of that day still.

When I think about what I want our family to bring out of this difficult and at times scary period of our lives - because we don't know what is to come yet and what the economic outcome of all this will be - I hope we have some memories to cherish, many blessings to be thankful for, and that we know we made this a time to appreciate our lives, our family and the bounty we enjoy more fully. I hope those are all things that will enrich the rest of our lives and the history of our family.

10 January 2021

Flashback To Fall 2019

I wrote this post two summers, but thought I would publish it because it recaps what I've been up to the past few years and things I've been thinking about and am still working on.

Fall 2019
Blog friends, it's been insanely too long (and so much has changed since the blogging heyday of the mid-2000s and early 2010s.)  My life has changed dramatically in that time period, going from a single gal designing my own line of vintage fabric handbags to working in the entertainment industry to then meeting my husband and becoming a full-time stepmom. All while continuing to pursue creative dreams.

In 2015 we moved to New Mexico, which was completely unexpected and made some major life changes including buying an amazing but somewhat dilapidated home in what was a fancy neighborhood in the 1980s. We went to work industriously, while I was working full-time, to start fixing up this home. We cleaned it from top to bottom, planted trees, painted rooms, refurbished the garage concrete floor and epoxied it *which took several weeks), and other projects.

In January 2016 I broke my foot in five places and was non-weight-bearing for over three months and in a cast for almost five months - and that put a big halt to our home reno projects and we have not done any big projects since. It's time to get back to that. We've faced some other pretty heavy-duty challenges since 2016 and spent a lot of time at the VA attending to my veteran husband's healthcare needs. And now we have a teenager with a busy life too.

During that time we've acclimated to this house and routine. I'm glad we didn't make all the changes we originally had in mind right after we moved in. Taking time to get to know the house and us in the house has been a blessing we didn't see at the start. I'm itching now to make some new updates including updating our little main powder room. It's tiny and only needs the walls sanded down and repainted, a new vanity, commode and fixtures. I'd also love to give it a pocket door because having the door open into the tiny room is just a little ridiculous. (Who designed that?!)

In the past few years we had also made cherished associations in our new community. We have been blessed to have amazing friends who are really more like family to us here. Kiddo loves her social circle and school here and has been really happy with the move. We are still getting to know the city in many ways. There is still so much to explore.

We've learned to love Monsoon season (it's raging outside with thunder and lightning right now) and learned to gather all that rainwater effectively to water the trees and plants in our yard -- we're talking hundreds of gallons of water with every storm and they often happen daily during the summer. We have rain barrels to collect water from all the spouts coming off our roof and our vinyl pool cover also collects large amounts of water that we pump off to flowers and trees. On of the biggest storms we had last year took an entire night to pump the water off the pool cover. At full hose strength continuously, you can imagine how much water we were able to put, free of charge, on the yard!

It's been quite a journey. I would say that for me personally, it has been an incredible journey filled with some of the most painful and joyful days of my life. I'm grateful for the woman I've become since our move. She is stronger and wiser and healthier in body, mind and soul. Challenge will do that to a person. One of the things I have not done enough of since moving is writing. I have been a writer since I was a little kid, writing stories and histories and fiction all along. A degree in journalism was the perfect fit for a girl with a wide array of interests she could investigate and write about. So I feel a need to come back to the blog and hope you will find new adventures interesting and inspiring.

This past week, as we've gotten back into school and the routine that accompanies it, I committed to take a few days to get a wild amount of rest. Rest is an amazing thing. I look like a younger, more invigorated version of myself .My brain feels clearer, I am more industrious in smaller amounts of time and my creative juices are boiling over with enthusiasm. I am thinking about home reno projects, decluttering, organizing, refurbishing projects that have been sitting around for a while. I've been selling things I love that I no longer have need for.

I'm letting go of old unnecessary energies and welcoming new abundance. There are new business opportunities lurking and decisions to be made. I'm resolving to begin traveling again and get to know my new state and region better. It's weird to live closer to the middle of the country after living in the far bottom left corner for so long. There is so much more of the country that is closer and easier to see from where we are now. We already have ski passes purchased for this winter.

Life feels refreshed and new and I'm looking forward to new adventures in all areas of life. I hope you'll come along with me and share all the adventures in learning that you are experiencing too.
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