In an attempt to stay sane amidst this pandemic and homeschooling ordeal I am trying to keep things low key when we do have time off on the weekends.
Yesterday, our trip to the beach was so restorative. Not only did it help me (and the children) to recover from the indescribable stress of the previous school week, but also to buttress myself for the upcoming week.
We began our day today with a lovely walk around our neighborhood with Fitzy. It was a relatively cool morning (in the mid-'60s), which made it perfect for walking (most mornings, it is already in the '80s by 8 or 9 AM). We looked at all the gardens, visited with horses, and just enjoyed the leisurely pace.
We returned home, had breakfast, and then tried to finish a few of our weekend jobs (laundry, get some more school stuff organized, and a little leftover cleaning). We even took on some window washing for about an hour. Since it was only 87 today, it felt downright chilly, compared to the never-ending triple-digit temperatures we have been experiencing for weeks. Miles was in charge of washing the screens, which he was quite excited about. Catherine, Graham, and I conquered the windows, even though Miles is the main offender of putting his greasy and muddy paws all over the glass panes, both inside and outside the house. One of these days he'll be old enough the get it, but for now, the three of us feel like full-time window washers, without the paycheck to go with it, of course. I have an inordinate amount of glass-paned doors in my home, which make for an airy ambiance, but also a lot of maintenance with a boy who loves to be in the dirt all the time.
After we finished our jobs, we watched a great movie on Apple Plus TV called, The Elephant Queen. It was an exquisitely shot documentary about a herd of elephants in Africa and focused on the matriarch of the herd, in particular, named Athena. Athena was regal, wise, and incredibly intelligent. She seemed to have her act together, managing a herd of about 50 mothers and their babies and children. She gave me a bit of a complex. I watched on wondered how she stayed so calm in the face of great adversity, danger, and pressure. I envied the herd of mothers and children all living together and supporting one another. I thought, especially now, how different my life would be if I was living that way. The articulate narrator (Chiwetel Ejiofor), with his lovely British accent, said at one point, "It takes a herd of elephants to raise their young ( a play on It Takes a Village). Why can't we learn from them live like as do, I lamented to myself. They are elephants and they have way more sense than we do.
As animal lovers, we all greatly enjoyed the story, despite some heartbreaking moments along the way. In case you are interested in our review, we wholeheartedly agree with the 91% Rotten Tomatoes awarded this movie.
This afternoon the kids took a swim while I watched them and tried to do some preemptive organizing for the week. I would do anything to have a better week than last, including spending my Sunday afternoon writing pages-long lists of things to help me stay organized as I move into another week.
We came in from the pool and cooked dinner together, except for Miles who stayed outside and got into his usual trouble. I have just given up on keeping a visual on him at all times or for that matter, keeping him inside with us. He is a free spirit and I have to do my best to balance that with keeping him safe.
Graham worked on dessert, German Chocolate Cookies (recipe courtesy of The New York Times), while Garin helped me with the Mushroom Quiche, and Catherine made the salad.
My expectations are not very high these days. As long as we can figure out a way to stay somewhat relaxed on the weekends and find some simple pleasures, I am happy. The weekdays have become such a source of anxiety and an avalanche of stress, that I have to do all I can to keep the weekends simple, while still keeping up with all that life is throwing our way.
Catherine and I spent about an hour cutting new roses today and replacing them in the vases on the kitchen island. We both take such pleasure in this activity. We pull all the dead roses out, trim the bottoms of the roses that are staying, change the water in the vases, and then decided where the new roses will go.
This is the arrangement we made for the kitchen table. We study each and every rose before it goes into its respective vase and try to figure out which bush it came from. Her recollection of the various names astounds me.
We put this beautiful arrangement in my bathroom so that it would be one of the first things I see when I get up in the morning (now one of the most difficult moments of my day as I am gripped with anxiety and dread about how we will make it through another day of homeschooling).
These were the gorgeous and perfectly baked cookies that Graham made us for dessert. He made them from start to finish all on his own. He is becoming quite the baker!
I found these two photos on my phone this evening, as I was downloading the ones I had taken of the roses and cookies. Catherine snapped them this afternoon in the garden. I knew she would be pleased if I shared them.