Categories
IRL motherhood op ed

Before and After. Thoughts on life before quarantine and “new normals”

People keep talking about the new normal we’re going to have to adjust to when things start to open back up. I have mixed feelings about this phrase because I have mixed feelings about what life in quarantine has been like. The things I will miss and the things I won’t miss if and when life starts to resemble before.

Before quarantine I would stop into a favorite coffee shop for a latte and a treat. Sometimes I’d meet friends. Sometimes I would simply be taking a moment for myself between errands.

Most of these coffee shops will let me pick up these goodies to go, but I haven’t taken advantage of this because it seems like it was never about the latte, it was about the place and the people.

These days my morning starts with making a big pot of coffee to share with my husband who is working from home (though it sounds like he’ll be going back to the office soon). In between meetings we meet in the kitchen and pour another cup and chat about our day so far and discuss dinner. Usually he makes us bacon and eggs for lunch. I’ll be honest, this new ritual is something I’ll miss when he goes back to work.

Right before the spring break that never really ended I chaperoned a field trip to the planetarium with my fifth grader. It’s a favorite field trip of mine and I’m glad it wasn’t one of the many that was cancelled.

I miss volunteering in the kid’s classes, serving lunch to their smiling faces, going on field trips and catching up with school moms. We chat on Facebook but it’s not the same.

That said, I don’t miss the early morning rush or the driving from activity to activity at all. I secretly love having the kids at home all day. Don’t get me wrong, my introvert frequently burns out from the chatter, but I don’t hate midday cuddles and late bedtimes.

Before quarantine I bought a travel watercolor set so that I could paint on the go. That entire sentence seems foreign to me now.

I also carried around a book to read in the car during school pick up because nighttime reading was often sacrificed because of exhaustion. These days I have all the time I need for hobbies. I’m reading three books at a time. I play video games every day, y’all. We watch family movies multiple times a week.

I don’t miss being tired from running errands and saying yes to too many things. I don’t miss the busy. I love a lot of things about this forced slow down. And yet…

I do miss going to Target to look at absolutely nothing. I miss shopping without a mask. I miss a trip to the grocery store not leaving me emotionally exhausted for at least an hour. I miss seeing friends and kissing babies and smiling at cashiers and not cringing about 6 feet of separation.

I know it feels petty to complain about little things like wanting to grab coffee at Starbucks or visit a friend. But we all know it’s not about that really. It’s about being able to breathe and stretch and exist in the world – to smile and laugh and hug each other. That’s all I want.

Categories
books & reading tag

The Stuck at Home Book Tag.

I saw this tag at A Book. A Thought. and loved it so much that I tagged myself in immediately. What is your reading life like while you are stuck at home? Keep scrolling for a peek at mine.


Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you – thanks self! And thanks to Sofii for sharing.
  • Answer all the questions down below
  • Pingback to the creator: Ellyn @ Allonsythornraxx
  • Nominate 5+ bloggers you’d like to know more about, to do this tag

🏡 | What are you currently reading? | 🏡

I’m reading a few things right now which seems to be the new normal. Sometimes I can’t read multiple books at once but lately I’ve been reading one book upstairs before bed, my book club pick during the day and a Babysitter’s Club book with my daughter for a little mother daughter book club.

My book club is discussing Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng this month. So far so good. It seems to be wildly popular especially since becoming a show on Hulu. I’ve been reading Aloha, Babysitters with my daughter. How good does a tropical vacation sound right now? And at night I’m reading Artemis Fowl at the recommendation of my fourteen year old.


🏡 | What’s your favourite ‘can’t-leave-the-house’ activity? | 🏡

I won’t lie. I’ve been playing Animal Crossing like it’s my part time job. I just hit 5 stars this morning, so… I’m kind of a big deal.

I’ve also been going for walks, baking, painting and complaining that I’m bored and drinking a lot of coffee. How about you?


🏡 | A book you’ve been meaning to read for forever | 🏡

These are a couple of new releases and soon to be released titles that I’m anxious to read. I pre-ordered the Hunger Games sequel because 3/4ths of the household will be wanting to read this one. The other two are on my library request list for now.


🏡 | An intimidating book on your TBR| 🏡

Maybe now is the time to read a big scary classic novel? Contemplating Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.


🏡 | Top 3 priority books on your TBR | 🏡

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and Followers by Megan Angelo are on my nightstand and Kindle waiting for their turn. Which one should I read first?


🏡 | Recommend a short book| 🏡

I really loved this middle reader graphic novel set at the Ren Faire. Another great Ren faire centered book that’s a little more adult (ahem) is Well Met by Jen Deluca.


🏡 | Recommend a long book| 🏡

One of my all time favorites. This one will take you a little longer but is well worth the extra time.


🏡 | Something you’d love to do while stuck at home| 🏡

My daughter and I are planning to rewatch all the Disney Princess movies in the order they were released. This might be the summer of Disney Plus around here.


🏡 | What do you plan on reading next?| 🏡

I’m not sure yet – what do you recommend?


Tagging

Since I tagged myself, I’m going to encourage you to tag yourself as well! Happy reading!

Categories
books & reading family fun motherhood summer reading

Summer Reading BINGO 2020 | Free Printable

three wooden dinosaur
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I just finished creating a summer reading challenge for 2020 because my kids have ONE WEEK LEFT of distance learning before our summer break begins! Is anyone else baffled by how fast and how slow quarantine seems to go at the same exact time?

My kids are counting down the days and I’m trying to get a game plan put together so that we don’t spend the entire summer staring at YouTube and playing video games. As fun as that sounds.

I’m not sure what our summer will look like right now – our state is starting to whisper about opening things back up but we as a family are planning to continue hunkering as long as we can stand it. Summers past have involved a lot of trips to the library for free camps and checking in with their summer reading programs because one challenge is never enough for my voracious readers.

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I’ve been making the kids summer reading challenges for a couple of years now to supplement the programs offered by the library and bookstores because those tend to only last us a couple of weeks at best.

Creating these challenges can be tough because my kids are already good readers, and I don’t want to make reading seem like a chore. I’m not going to make them count how many minutes they’ve been reading or how many pages. I don’t want to make a long list of categories that don’t line up with their interests – and often they read such vastly different types of books that I end up having to make multiple challenges – one for each kid.

Anyway – behold: this year’s summer reading challenge! I’ve been pretty into the BINGO format because it lets the kids aim low or high depending on their motivation and gives a fair amount of options. I’m pretty proud of this assortment of categories because I think it will appeal to both my 10 year old and my 14 year old. Wish me luck!

summer reading 2020 bingo

Feel free to save and print this to use with your own kids this summer.

Let me know how they like it!

When do your kids start summer break?

Here are a few challenges from summers past: 2018, 2017 and 2016

Categories
books & reading reviews top 5 tuesday

Top 5 Love Stories

The prompt for this week’s Top 5 Tuesday hosted by Bionic Bookworm is love stories or romances. This term can be applied to a lot of books and can mean different things to different people. From corset ripping to classic love stories and everything in between. Here are 5 of my very favorites.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen | This is my Gold Standard. All love stories will be compared to P&P at the end of the day. This is the classic romance I will recommend to everyone. Runners up for classic romance are Anne of Green Gables and Gone With the Wind.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell | This is my favorite young adult nerdy girl love story. I literally turn into a fangirl over this story. If you like it, you’ll want to be reading all of Rowell’s other books and anything by John Green or Becky Albertalli.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan | This book is a perfect combination of romance and wanderlust. It’s about picking up your life and starting over and has Scottish accents and bookish references for days. Colgan is a master at this genre so you can plunge her backlist for ages, then try Katherine Center for more love stories where the main character is figuring out her own life, too.

Cress by Marissa Meyer | If you are looking for a Rapunzel retelling set in a sci fi / fantasy dystopian setting (you know, like you do) then look no further! This is a couple of books into the Lunar Chronicles series that I recommend to anyone who will listen so if you haven’t read Cinder yet, start there. If you already know and love this one, then go read the Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | This a perfect sweet YA love story, perfect for fans of To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han or Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch. It also falls into the Wanderlust category and is also part of a semi-connected series.


Which books would be on your list?