Eight Women

Sarah Marie    Boston   September, 2020

 I have been SO busy with school work. Aaron figures I'm working at least 70 hours a week. I take an hour off once the school day ends and then plan until dinner. I help get the kids ready for bed and then work until bedtime. It is exhausting and I don't see an end in sight. So, I am trying to be more present when I am with my kids. These photos are helping because they make me stop and pause and watch my kids while I am with them. Otherwise, my mind wanders to my students, my lessons, my plans. It is horrible that I have to make conscious choices to be present with my own kids! These are from afternoon activities and weekend trips.

                          October, 2020

November, 2020

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These are hair cutting photos. My son has picture day tomorrow and I need him to look good! 

 December,2020

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This is a post-dinner Yoga with Adrienne family yoga session in my mom's house downstairs. My mom's dog, Rosie, is licking my husband's ear. Now that it is getting dark so early and it's getting colder, we're trying to find ways to get the wiggles out of the kids. 

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Though I haven't had to consciously parent (as I did in September and October when I frantically tried to balance teaching and mothering,) I tried to be more present with my children this past month. 

 

My kids are VERY excited for Santa to visit. My middle child has learned how to play Jingle Bells on our keyboard. We've decorated our tree. We also decorated a gingerbread house - though it is stored on top of our tallest piece of furniture because one of our cars keeps trying to lick it!

 

I've taken afternoon walks with my kids. Sometimes we find turkeys, sometimes we stop for a treat at Starbucks. And we have game night once in a while - I'm trying to have it more frequently. 

 

There's a lot of 'trying' for me right now. Trying to be present and patient and creatively finding ways to help my kids find happiness as this time of COVID lingers on. And trying to find a quiet moment for myself as well.

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We've had a nice quiet holiday filled with baking, games, and family time. Our oven had a gas leak a few weeks ago. We had to call the fire department to shut it off. We got a new one delivered a week later (we cooked in my mom's house in the meantime) but didn't realize that you need a plumber to un install the stove before a new one can be installed. So, a week later and a few days before Christmas, we finally had a working oven. I haven't baked in years - I baked a little but it was just so much work mixing and then cleaning up afterwards. Since the new oven has been put in, I baked a chocolate Yule Log and a spice cake. My husband's birthday is in 2 days and I'll bake some more. It feels different now. I'm not sure why. I also finished knitting Christmas stockings for my girls. I knit my son one when he was a baby (first child!) But I hadn't knit any for my girls. I finished Frida's on Christmas Eve around 8:30! It was close! My middle child embellished her own using buttons.

Here are some photos. The one with me and my girls was an afternoon when I tried to do some quiet, relaxing reading after school...

 

Then, there's the photo of the Moby Dick cake I baked for my husband for his 45th birthday. It is lemon with lemon cream cheese frosting. We were inspired by the show Nailed It.

 

Then there's the photo of my workspace. My monitor is currently not working because my 20lb cat sat on the cord and it is no longer working... My old workspace was a closet. My husband gifted me with a standing desk for the new year and I really like it. 

 

The drawing was made by my 6 year old, it is actually a board game when you have to rescue your "momma cat from an evil cat named Laser."

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January, 2021

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The baby peeking through the mail slot is the youngest brother of my children's friends. He was born in early March. After visiting friends from the doorway, Ziggy crawled to the door and waved goodbye through the slot.

 

I hurt my back at some point (I think I read in bed too long over a weekend...) and spent some time on my stomach to help get it better. My orange and white cat, Maya, found me on a few occasions and made himself comfortable on my back. He's 20 pounds and did some massaging as he kneaded me. It actually felt good!

 

My kids spent some time constructing cardboard houses for the cats. We baked s'mores in the oven and I also baked a cheesecake and some chocolate chip banana bread. -- I get some of my groceries from Farmers to You and they have some amazing chocolate chips! I have been baking a lot more over the past few months. I think I was too overwhelmed with COVID in the beginning, and then teaching this fall. Our oven hadn't been working well for a while. The 4 button was broken so we couldn't bake anything 400 degrees or above. After a gas leak, we got it replaced and I love the new one. I also have a solid routine now that it's 1/2 way through the school year. 

 

And I have more cat photos, my youngest snuggling with our kitten -- well, squeezing her in a choke hold. Spaghetti (the kitten) tolerates so much from the kids. And my other cats were sleeping cheek to cheek. They are bonded brothers and are so sweet together.

March, 2021

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Today we went cross country skiing. It was my first time ever, and the first time for my kids as well. My mother in law joined us, so we had a 1:1 adult to child ratio. 

The weather was crisp and perfect. My kids were very excited. Most weekends, we stick around our house. It was so nice to have something to do outside.

At first, I stuck with my youngest. She kept falling and I kept laughing. Every time she fell, she just picked herself right up. A little while later, I was paired up with my middle child. She had fallen and I fell on my way to get to her. I finally got myself back up, and as I started moving, she got onto her skis and crashed into me. It was hilarious.

I ended the day with my son. He's the most cautious of my three children. He tried so hard to keep his tears in when he fell, but it was hard for him. He was so focused on the bad parts (falling) that he didn't realize that he skied down the last two hills all by himself. It was amazing watching him go. He would squat so low when he felt he was losing control, and then straighten up afterwards. 

I wish I knew of the course earlier in the year. I want to go next winter, and get a pass so we can do it more than once.

My youngest and I went for a long walk the other day. There's a photo of the two of us. There's another photo of some moss and lichen. My kids know how much I love moss and lichen, so they always point it out to me when they see it. 

I have a photo of my laptop. I'm submitting the first 10 pages of a story to an agent at a writing conference for a critique next month. Fingers crossed that it goes well!

I also have a photo of my son. He just learned how to play America the Beautiful. I'm not much of a patriotic song person, but when he played it I got so excited. He's been playing the viola for a year and a half and is getting so good. Watching him learn and grow in his music has been such a joyful journey. His music makes me so happy.

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Here's a photo of me getting my first Moderna vaccine on Friday! I was crying happy tears when I got there.

 

Also, yesterday was my birthday. My students got me flowers. My husband got me champagne. I corrected student work last night. Not a grand celebration, but I have so much to be thankful for.  Looking forward to what my 42nd year brings.

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April, 2021

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Here's a photo of my 6 year old on a playground. Now that the weather is nice, we go to playgrounds a lot. We also found some flowers on a walk. She made a restaurant one night on our front porch. She wrote menus and set the table. I ordered a banana and a glass of milk. 

 

I'm so grateful for the warmer weather.

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 I just biked past my girls' school and they're setting up a tent for lunches and outdoor teaching space. It was quite a sight to see (and hear - lots of drilling).

 

There's a photo of my daughter decorating a cookie using the "paint" on the cookie palette.

 

My son and I spotted a flowering tree on a bike ride. It made me so happy.

 

There's a photo of my girls and me, stopping for Starbucks after a bike ride. There's a close-up of my 6 year old's feet. She gets her shoes on the wrong feet 100% of the time.

 

And I have a photo of my chunky cat, Maya, helping me lesson plan. He was accidentally left on our 3 season porch overnight and clung to me the next day.

 

I also baked a lemon olive oil cake to share with my in-laws. It was delicious.

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