Life Updates – Coronavirus Edition

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Since so much has happened in our baby’s first month and a half of life, together with the sleep deprivation, it’s felt like a strange and blurry whirlwind.  I had already planned to take March off from homeschooling due to the birth, so not much changed for us with the quarantine orders.  It was just business-as-usual, and the kids missed school so much we ended up starting back up only 2 weeks into the break anyway!  It’s nice to have a routine, and it’s nice they actually like doing school (enough LOL).

Having a husband who was having work all the time during the pandemic, risking being exposed and bringing it home to us (and our newborn!!!!), was not at all easy.  He was only off for 3 DAYS after I came home from the hospital, so it was hard.  My mom was able to come once a week, and thankfully I recover fast, but the sleep deprivation… I just don’t do well with it by any means.

We’ve been really lucky with the other children’s births.  Our first was over the summer and we both were college students working flexible jobs.  With our second, my husband only took off 5 days, but his schedule allowed him to let me sleep in for as long as I needed (I’m talking till 11am – just insane for life with a newborn, he spoiled me!! Our bed felt like a sleeping on a cloud and the overall experience was easy).  With our third he felt he had enough time and ability to take a month off – it was like a strange family vacation of sorts.  But this time was different.

At first when we’d talked about it, we both agreed there was no need to take off, I’d be 100% fine (LOL can you believe this?!?).  We both figured with his new schedule where he got off early in the afternoon, that he’d come home, let me sleep if I needed it, and he’d still be able to bond with the baby, play with the kids, etc. and everything would just magically work out.

LOL

It was only on the last day when I was still in the hospital with our newborn that it started to dawn on me, “Wow, this is going to be REALLY hard… I think I want my husband to take off now for a month like he did last time….”  The only problem was, he’d already taken on a big, important commitment for that entire month (!), as well as several special assignments interspersed that each paid a lot of money.  He didn’t want to take off anymore, and because of the big commitment, he really couldn’t without letting several people down – it was too late!

But because of the virus, his hours at times got extended to ridiculous lengths we’d rarely seen before.  Normal 8 hour shifts turned into 15 hour shifts, leaving me at home with all four kids, on very little sleep, and feeling like death more than a few times.  His guys were saying there were rumors they’d have to go to 12-hour shifts (which meant even lonnnger if they went over) and that they may have to go to 6 days a week!  It was basically horrible… for both of us.  I’m very grateful it went by fast and like a blur.

Surviving through that first month was ridiculously hard, especially with the added psychological threat of, “What if he brings the virus home?  We have a newborn and women who just gave birth are on the “at-risk” list!!!”  To a major extent, I had to accept that if God allowed it to happen, to affect us or our kids, or even the newborn, that I’d accept death due to me telling him not to take off originally, and him not wanting to afterward, and that death would still be within God’s will.  It sounds dramatic now, but we’ve already lost a few people in our little country church, and saw some in their 30’s have a very hard time with it (one man close by died).  Death was suddenly a possibility, albeit maybe small, but when your husband is out there everyday, interacting with the public and then possibly bringing it home to all your little ones, it really helps your faith grow in trusting whatever God allows.

We had both basically caused each other to suffer needlessly for making choices that weren’t the best.  I was an idiot and really thought I could handle it all on my own, and he really didn’t think about the risk to the family that first month having a newborn concerning the virus.  It all kind of exploded in our faces – and that was our first month of quarantine!  This is one of those times where we both had to realize how human we were, how we really misjudged what it would be like, and had to forgive each other and move on.  It dawned on me how much he was missing out bonding with the baby – because I thought I’d be able to handle everything – and I was actually worried he resented me for it!  I’m so thankful we were both able to forgive each other, to communicate and move on.

After his big commitment was over that first month, his Grandfather passed away after a good, full life ❤ , and my husband was allowed time off.  His Grandfather had requested for him to be in the funeral to carry the casket, so he felt like it was an honor to go,  His Grandmother told him during the funeral how proud she was of him and his achievements – he was very encouraged by going.  His superior gave him the option to take a special quarantine leave since he would be traveling outside the county, so he took 2 weeks – only to make me feel supported.  He didn’t have to, it caused him to miss out on two special assignments.  He could have gone straight back to work and I think there was some pressure to do that, but he chose to take 2 weeks off for me.

Those two weeks after the somewhat hellish existence of that first month just trying to survive, felt like a family, “staycation,” while in quarantine.  Finally, he had time to really bond with the baby, hang out with our boys, and tease our girl.  I know others have had it much harder, I’m grateful all this was our only real struggle.

Now on to happier things….

Our garden of veggies and herbs is doing wonderfully.  The kids love watching the stuff they planted grow, there’s blueberries starting to turn purple/blue, and lots of strawberries beginning to bud.  No blackberries or grapes yet, but we’re waiting for those to pop out hopefully soon.

We should have some good-sized bell peppers red and green, and candy-cane peppers, along with a bunch of jalapeno peppers and two different kinds of tomatoes.  Also hoping the squash, zucchinis and cucumbers come up… fingers crossed!

I love the simplicity of having a garden one eats out of ❤  Hopefully our kids will grow up to love that, too.

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This lower picture is of some of the baby oranges budding.  Can’t wait to make fresh orange juice and maybe try to make orange marmalade!!!

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Some pictures of a hike we went on close to our house.  The views of the surrounding areas from on top of the hills were just gorgeous!

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I love yellow cactus flowers.  Just so bright and joyful.

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We are quite literally surrounded by cactus though, which I don’t mind at all, since I grew up with it, it makes me feel even more at home.  I had a sweet, younger male cousin who fell into it one time on Easter, during one of our huge egg-hunts.  He had to go to the hospital, but ended up ok (terrified of them, but otherwise ok).  I try to tell our boys that story semi-often just to remind them although they’re beautiful and fascinating, they’re REALLY no joke!  They love to play-fight so I could just imagine the cactus scenarios playing out….  Don’t throw your brother into the cacti!!!  Just saying.

~ ❤ ~

We get all kinds of birds, these below I believe are house finches… they sing beautifully!

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The view from atop the elliptical 😀

Somehow the stars aligned and I was actually able to workout even with my husband at work!  All four kids let me do it!! It felt amazing and so good!!

This is the first time we both feel completely outnumbered by all our kids.  One was pretty easy, two wasn’t hard at all, three it got a tiny bit harder, but four is insane… like we sometimes lose a kid level of insane!!!!  I’m sure we’ll get used to it (and better at knowing where all four are on any given basis).

But we’re not there yet!

 

9 Comments

  1. The stage of life you are in is both stressful and amazing. It seems like a whirlwind of craziness at times, but hang in there. It will pass in the blink of an eye. My youngest turned 18 last year and the oldest (of three) is now married and now a BSN working towards a doctorate. I was in the same line of work as your husband and worked a lot… I did what I had to do she could stay home when they were little, but I missed so much and reminder so little. Really looking forward to grand kids. I will make sure I enjoy it this time…

  2. Thank you MJ, that means a lot and is very encouraging. I’ve been told by several ladies that it gets a lot better when the youngest is 4+. It really IS going by very fast, which is both good and sad.

    And usually his work isn’t that busy, and he originally was going to take the whole month off again until I convinced him I’d be fine! He’s on the alpha shift/daylight now, so **usually** when things are slower, he gets back home by 3pm which is amazing for having little ones! This is by far the best schedule he’s ever had now that he has a lot more years on.

  3. I agree – you’re a hero! And working out already – wow!
    I had 3 little kids 3 years old and under and those years are such a blur. I can barely even remember them, I was constantly exhausted and always busy. #3 was 5 when #4 was born and I loved every minute of it and I can actually remember his early years because the exhaustion wasn’t so great.
    My oldest has just moved out (he’s just turned 17) to live at the farm he works on and I would give anything to turn back the clock and be back in the season of babies, toddlers, and littlies again. Those few short years of being able to hold them in our arms goes all too quickly.

  4. Wow that sounds so hard, we have friends who have back to back babies (one just had her 8th this last November!!) and it looks extremely hard. I think maybe the blur just becomes the way of life maybe? For us, we had to space them out by at least 2 years due to them all being c-sections and the risk of the uterus ripping etc.

    And sad that it goes by that fast, KAK 😦 !!!! I’m definitely going to cry when each one leaves – hard to think about it. But we do look forward to grandchildren, it looks like such a fun period in life!

  5. There are a lot of things that are hard right now, but in the midst of the challenges the good things seem all the more sweet. I find that giving each day to God when I wake up makes everything easier. Someday you’ll look back and realize how much growth is happening during this time, and you’ll marvel at what God has done! You have such a sweet heart and your family is precious. Saying a prayer for you tonight! ~Linda

  6. Linda, thank you so much for your encouragement. I made it a point to start getting up early again and reading the Bible and spending time talking to God in the mornings, and my 2 year old daughter gladly has been joining in as well 😀 ❤ !!! I was putting it off due to sleep deprivation with the baby, but it really does help so much to give God those first fruits of the morning, helps me put the rest of the day into better perspective. So thank you!! 😀

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