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Well if any of you read my posts when this quarantine started, you know that we have had some wild adventures in the Terry household. Things calmed down quite a bit over the summer while the kids could get outside and I could go back to my office. The summer was fun and interesting. We have a huge deck on the back of our house and decided to make it the summer fun deck with a 8’x10′ blow up Walmart pool (cost $25), we bought lounge chairs from Wayfair as part of our anniversary gift from our parents and to ourselves ($$$) and we bought a propane glass fireplace ($$) which we have only lit once due to the 90+ weather we have had all summer. We have spent a lot of time on our deck enjoying our little space as a family (Priceless). And being Italian, I decided to buy some tomato plants to grow in pots. At first (not a very green thumb here) I put 4 plants in each huge pot. (I know, insert uncontrollable laughter here) Needless to say I had to transplant the tomatoes into more pots since I unknowingly had too many in one pot. To my defense they were so little when I got them!!! So now I have two in each pot and I have 4 pots and many, many tomatoes. I made homemade pasta fagioli soup with organic turkey sausage over the weekend and I will be making homemade salsa tonite. So I am enjoying my literal fruits of my labor now. Even if it started a little messy. Next year I will know!
I am happy to be back in the office full time and gearing up for this year. My son will be going to college virtually since that is what Loyola University decided to do for the first semester. I am sad for my son, but know that he will be fine doing online school and it will go faster than he thinks! My daughter will be going back 5 days a week starting September 10th and hopefully the school district can continue that way throughout the fall.
I have meant with many clients and talked with a lot of people this summer, some of whom have struggled a lot. So my advice is this: 1. start every day off with a positive thought, what are you going to accomplish, what is good in your life right now, what are you thankful for. Anything that gets your mindset on the right track. 2. What can you control? This is always a loaded question, but it’s so important. I can control my attitude, my lifestyle-such as eating nutritious foods, walking or exercising. I can control what I wear and how I act. I can control if I am kind and respectful. When you focus on the things you CAN control and not on the things you CANNOT, you will be happier and focused! So be flexible!
BE LIKE A TREE
Stay grounded. Connect with your roots. Turn over a new leaf. Bend before you break. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Keep growing. -Joanne Raptis
So we do not have a dog, although my kids have been asking for a dog for years. To be honest, I love dogs, but we travel too much to own one and we aren’t home a lot during the times we aren’t traveling. I certainly wouldn’t want to subject a dog to that lifestyle. My kids have tried to force this issue for the last 5 weeks, but without success. I told them it might be possible to foster a dog, but not own one. So maybe, but then again, not sure how our two cats would feel about that. We have very good friends that also travel and we actually watch their dog at our house and our cats are fine with it. But our cats also know Abby. I have seen neighbor upon neighbor walking by my dining room window and I am pretty sure every one of them owns a dog. Well at least most of them do and my kids have benefited from the dog sitting jobs over the years, not now of course. At least my husband is on my side, so we have 2 vs 2. Thank goodness if it were 3 v 1 that wouldn’t end of good for me as I know who would end up taking care of this dog. You know that the kids have argued that they would take care of it, but the true question is, who is walking the dog at 6am in the dead of winter and cold-NOT THIS MAMA. To which my 16 year old daughter said, we can just put up an invisible fence-Really and who is paying for that? I am going to write a new book called “Questions asked during Quarantine.”
So for all of you who own pets, including dogs, I am sure you are really enjoying yourself having a faithful companion. Cats-not so much, in fact I think they are annoyed we are all home. Go figure!
So for all of our uncertainty in the last few weeks, what has become certain for you? It’s an interesting question, I know. Are you certain of finding cleaning products and toilet paper in the stores and for me, it’s actually been cat food-and those are all uncertain for sure. And with the Governor’s announcement today, that uncertainty has been moved to certain that we will not be in our school buildings/educational facilities for the rest of this academic year, but the uncertainty about how that will look from now until June is still uncertain.
What I want you to focus on is this-what do you truly know? We know that our friends and families are still there and that they love us and we love them. We know that we have been forced into a new reality of spending more time with our families/loved ones and that is actually a good thing. We know that our lives will change, but what makes this even more valuable and certain is that I believe it’s for the better. We have unequivocally been spending time creating “busy” whether it’s our activities, our children’s activities or maybe even work, but we now have the chance to “do better”. As someone who has definitely been party to the schedule of activities, this was my chance to gather my thoughts and focus on the important. My family is important, my friends are important and yes all of you are important to me too. When I took this job in 2012, I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, I had lots of ideas and things I wanted to accomplish and this was a brand new position, but over these last 8 years, I believe this was my purpose-to help employees live their best life. If you think that sounds a little corny, I don’t care, because I have always had a job serving other people-as an athletic trainer, as a health advocate and now as a wellness coordinator and a health and wellness coach. It is very important to me that others see the value in their lives as I see their value! You are valuable and important and I know that at this time of uncertainty, I know that for certain. So take a look around you and find out what you know, what is certain and how you can take that into your future (post-pandemic). I know many of you have heard me say that I value you and I truly do because being the product of two teachers-one an elementary school music teacher (my mom) and a high school music teacher (my dad), it was not in the cards for me to teach in a school. I admire you and envy you for all that you do for our schools no matter what position you hold and I admire you for what you are capable of doing especially now! Keep up the fantastic work you do and know for certain-YOU ARE AMAZING!!
Okay, so in our family game night, it was a marathon two hours of Mexican train that started after dinner, which my daughter and husband tied at the very end of the game, almost unreal that it happened, but they had a winner take all grudge match and my son and I watched and laughed while looking at their dominos to see who would win. It came down to the last two dominos and my husband won. So for all of you that don’t know, we have a chalkboard in the kitchen keeping track of all the family game night wins and my husband has been killing it with 6 wins. We are competitive to say the least! But that made for a longer night, and then my daughter came in my bedroom at 10pm to ask for help on genetics. I have a Master’s in Biology and genetics is one of my favorite subjects, so I had a good time helping her solve the problems. And no I didn’t give her the answers, but helped her problem solve. So when I actually laid down to go to sleep it was past 10:30. But I wasn’t going to give up this precious time with my family nor giving up the genetics problems for sleep. I don’t go to bed very late but every once in a while it’s okay. So last night was it.
I got up at 5am this morning to work out, so there was a much needed tall cup of Espresso this morning with my name on it. I usually go to bed early between 9-9:30 at the latest because on a normal day I am up at 4:45am to go to the gym. Since the gym is now in my basement, I allow myself a little bit longer to sleep. HA HA! But today I am a little sleepier than usual, which means tonite should be interesting. We may have to make game night earlier so I don’t fall asleep a the table. And hopefully no two hours of whatever game my husband chooses tonite. And yes, his exact quote last night was, “I am going to pick a word game so I can game some distance on my wins.” See for yourself below. But at the end of this third week at home, we have had a great time as a family enjoying each other’s company and being competitive. Maybe I’ll talk my husband into watching a movie tonite instead and giving up his pick… 🙂
As we are all now in the middle of our 3rd week working from home, which by the way for me has gone fast (I know, put me in a straight jacket-I get it), but it really has. I have stuck to a schedule which again I have worked from home before, so it’s easy, but as I look at news headlines in the paper and sometimes in the actual tv news, it seems like this is the worst April Fool’s joke ever! But as you know I love to look at the positive of every situation, we shouldn’t lose our sense of humor. Yesterday, which looking back should’ve been today, my husband was in our bathroom shaving (with an electric razor or that could’ve been deadly) when I burst in the door and scared the crap out of him. He wasn’t too happy at first but then he smiled. By now, my family should be used to this. I have been doing this all their lives, lurking behind doors, crouching behind couches and even waiting in the dark in their room to scare them. Probably more for my enjoyment, but I always get a smile and a laugh out of them! One time I did that last year and my now college son, picked me up and put me on the couch. Which of course he got a kick out of because he is much larger than I. But we should be smiling and finding the humor in life to get us through tough times!
Last night before game night, my two teenagers were trying to play baseball in the kitchen with a foil ball and tongs and of course I am trying to get them them to clean up. But we are all laughing at the comedy going on in our house. Over the years, there has never been a lack of laughing in our house. They have even tried to scare mom, but it’s hard to do! So when you are in your houses with your family or zooming with friends or coworkers, find the highlights, find the humor and laugh about them. And it’s never too late to play an April Fool’s joke, even a day or two late.
So Smile and Stay Sane (so you’re not in a straight jacket)
Having four people in the house all day long for 10-11 days, I don’t know, I have seem to lost count at this point has put a strain on my snacks! Yes, my snacks. The things I usually reserve for myself every now and then have now disappeared into oblivion (or better yet in the mouths and stomachs of my teenagers.) Well I guess there is no excuse now for me not to lose some weight during this time. Oh I have cut up fruit, an entire box of strawberries, a cantaloupe, oranges in wedges.. and guess who gets to eat those, yes mom. I am not sure they have eaten all the snacks yet, they may be hoarding them in their room for now in case mom resorts to only buying healthy foods for the duration. I have stashed my dark cacao where they won’t find it, because I am sure if they got desperate for chocolate that would be the next thing to go. Seriously I have to keep something for myself. Emma bought some girl scout cookies with her own money from a girl at school before this all went down and she has stashed those in her room. I think snack Armageddon might be coming to the Terry household soon. There may be secret runs to the grocery store and stashing things in my car or better yet behind the canned tomato sauce in the pantry. They would never look there. So if anyone sees me out and about looking snack hungry just toss something at me from 6 feet away, any snack appreciated at this point! Have a wonderful day hopefully you got a chuckle out of this story!
Sometimes I wonder if all of this staying home and having time with our families is actually a true blessing. I certainly wouldn’t wish any illness, chronic or acute, pandemic or not on any one person, let alone thousands. I am an optimist and know this will end. I do not know when, but it will and we will come through this stronger as a people and a nation. But what I am really hopeful for is that the family unit becomes strong also! I am truly thankful for this time with my family. There are four of us and for the first time in a very long time, we are not dealing with the hustle and bustle of jobs, school, sports, activities, meetings, etc… Of course my husband and I are working from home, my college kid is doing his classes via zoom and the high school kid has spent time coloring in her adult coloring book, reading and working out, but we eat lunch together, dinner together and play games. We each have a distinctly different personality, but spending time away from all the other distractions has been absolutely wonderful. Watching my two teenagers interact with each other, horsing around and making fun of us as parents, has been entertaining to say the least. I am so happy I am getting this time with my husband and children, its comforting. I know it won’t last, but I will soak up every moment that we are together. As parents you know that saying “day to day time goes so slow, but the years go by so fast.” Take the time to watch the nuances of family interaction, the thoughtfulness of each other and remember that in times of strife, you have each other to hold onto. I am sure the hustle and bustle will return, but maybe this time around, we push some of that aside to remember what is truly valuable in this world.
As we are stuck at home with either Toddlers or Teenagers or little people in between, they all present with challenges. I have been emailing with employees who are now at home with their children and needing attention. I joked with them that I would gladly trade their toddlers for my teenagers. While we may think that toddlers need more interaction than teenagers, need games to play, activities to do, or general cuddling and holding, I am finding that teenagers may need some similar attention as well. Certainly not to the extent of toddlers or little people, but teenagers tend to understand a little more about whats going on in the world and it can make them a little more anxious. And although I am not an expert, I can offer a few pieces of advice (you know after being stuck at home for four days now with two teenagers, and everyone is still alive and kicking.) First they still need some of their independence. I have a college kid that is now stuck at home doing online learning through his college. Having to transition in a matter of a week to moving out of college, living at home and not going to physical classes hasn’t been easy. They still need to be hugged and be reassured that this isn’t permanent. I also have a second teenager at home who is a sophomore in HS who doesn’t know when she will go back to school or see her friends. Luckily in this day and age, most teenagers are connected via social media so they can see their friends and talk with them. Teenagers tend to have lots of questions about situations such as these and although most of us have never been through a pandemic (thank goodness), answer them honestly and directly. If you aren’t sure, there are sites such as the CDC, WHO and Johns Hopkins that have great information that is up to date. I am listing them below this blog or better yet, have them do some research and share it with the family. One very important thing I had to do with my teenagers after telling them both “no” to going out with friends, was what the ramifications are by NOT practicing social distancing. They both drive, they both want to spend this time with their friends. It’s hard and it’s affecting all of us, but my husband and I are modeling that behavior by not going out and being with people. There are many activities to do with teenagers and toddlers such as family meal time. Make sure that is an important part of everyone’s day, it’s been a great opportunity to have both teenagers home, no sports or other activities and getting to eat a meal together again!! We also instituted family game night where each person picks a game each night and we play together. Last night my daughter and I kicked the boys behinds in Euchre! Tonite its bananagrams, chosen by my son. My daughter and I usually lose badly to my husband and son who are both wordsmith people! And although it’s been a long time since I had toddlers or little people, create workstations around your house for them, such as a coloring station, a puzzle station and physical activity station. Schedule in downtime where they play by themselves with a book and maybe a little screen time or video time. Remember they are also uncertain during this time because mom and dad are possibly both home and it’s not the norm. I have also listed below a PDF sent to me by Health advocate on resources for online learning Many museums around the US have a host of online activities or are now putting their exhibits online such as the Baltimore Aquarium. So go check it out.
And remember to take some downtime for yourself! Take care and remember this is temporary!!!