May 17, 2020 § Leave a comment
Ever since that Friday the thirteenth in March where everything changed, I’ve been getting up at 5:30AM every other day to make sure I have enough time to do my yoga practice before the whole house wakes up. My alarm goes off at 5:30, I head downstairs right away to turn on the coffee maker, then back upstairs wash my face and carry down the baby monitor and my phone. Then I sip my coffee and eat a banana while scrolling through my phone, waiting for the caffeine to kick in.
This morning, I read this satisfying piece in the Atlantic by Stanley Tucci in which he recounts a normal day for he and his family during this phase of not normal (bonus: it includes recipes). It’s so relatable and reassuring to read that we’re all more or less doing the same things. Those of us with children anyways. Even though we’ve been doing this stay-at-home and physical distancing thing for 66 days and it’s very exhausting with two small children, I am wise enough to know that when it’s over, I will miss it. In the spirit of indulging my sentimental side, here’s a typical day for the Storches in these COVID times.
(I already mentioned that I’ve been waking up early every other day to practice yoga, so let’s say this is an off day.)
Henry jumps into bed between Nick and I, humming the Highway Thru Hell theme song. He cuddles with us for a few minutes, while also compiling a long to-do list for the day, 95% of which are things for US to do for HIM (Nick to build new LEGO tow trucks with him, Nick to order specific LEGO pieces online for a vision of a tow truck he has, me to look up how-to’s in Minecraft, me to be his camera person for filming his own videos).
Henry gets free reign of the TV downstairs while Nick stays in bed as long as possible and I get Charlie The Wonder Sleeper from his room.
All four of us sit on the couch, watching Henry’s choice of TV, most likely a LEGO/Highway Thru Hell Youtube DIY video made by a very nerdy Canadian teenager.
Nick and I are awake now, drinking our various caffeinated beverages. Charlie gets tired of Henry’s show and plays nicely by himself with Duplo or a puzzle. I look at the clock and remember how this time used to mean that I’d be telling everyone to do their last minute before school things – teeth brushed, lunch packed, library books in backpack, etc and wonder how hard it will be when we finally have somewhere to be again.
Finally turn off the TV and have breakfast at the table, usually accompanied by toys.
I shower while Nick hangs out with the kids downstairs.
Nick retreats upstairs for the rest of the morning to shower and work. I get the boys into the backyard and/or alley. I am already tired by this time from getting them and myself dressed, brushing teeth, tying tow truck hooks back on strings, solving and cleaning up puzzles, opening and taking out play-doh from containers, drawing things Henry wants me to draw so he can colour in, and other little things that add up to a lot of frantic movement.
Kids start fighting over random toys in the backyard they don’t care enough about to bring inside when it rains, but are somehow the most special item to them because the other one started playing with it. Time to distract with snacks!
A few minutes of near-silence while kids wander the backyard aimlessly, munch on goldfish, and drink juice boxes.
Kids are playing pretty happily so I slip inside, literally right on the other side of the glass door from where they are, to start making lunch. They notice immediately and start opening and closing the door 46 times calling for me to “come see this!”
Herd kids inside and to the sink to wash their hands. Henry eats his daily grilled cheese with the crust cut off and mini cucumbers. Charlie eats one of his daily selections of Amy’s mac & cheese. I eat with them, but usually a third option (because I enjoy being a short order cook?)
Both kids have a second (or third) wind and go crazy until nap time.
I put Charlie down for his nap.
Henry video chats with his teacher and a couple of his other classmates that also feel like joining in. Henry treats this time as show-and-tell.
I work furiously for an hour and a half and drink my second coffee, while sitting beside Henry who’s watching TV or doing one of his video game-like school assignments.
I bust out my most subtle influencing skills (this is so exhausting and challenging) to convince Henry to do some schoolwork online that he never wants to do, no matter what it is. This usually includes bringing tow trucks or Highway Thru Hell or even bathroom humour into the assignment to get him to think it’s fun and actually complete it. Then I light a candle on my shrine to elementary teachers in gratitude and appreciation.
Time to wake up Charlie. He doesn’t want to wake up yet, but I want him to go to bed again 4 hours later, so too bad, kid. Henry follows us into his room, yell-talking and making Charlie whine because it’s not an enjoyable way to wake up.
I begin dinner and it’s time to switch from coffee to beer or wine. I attempt to deflect all the kids’ various needs back to the TV so that I can cook while Nick takes his 400th phone call of the day upstairs.
We eat. Henry finishes first and asks for “I-C-E cream” as though Charlie hasn’t figured out his sneaky secret code by now.
I pretend to be an ice cream truck and make paper money for the kids to spend on ice cream. SHHHHH DON’T TELL HENRY THAT HE’S LEARNING ANYTHING.
Bath time. Charlie whines that he doesn’t want to get into the tub. Henry leaps and runs around naked and screaming. I convince Charlie to get into the tub by filling it with various baking tools or offering an “ice cream bath” if we’ve held off on ice cream until this time. Nick and I switch back and forth off of bath duty until the floor is soaked and they’ve made me several “coffees” from their bath tub coffee shop.
We drain the water and Charlie won’t get out even though Henry’s gone and he’s naked and wet in an empty tub. I pull him out into a towel despite his protests.
Nick yells at Henry to get his pajamas on while trying to deal with last minute work emails and calls. Henry huddles into a troll-like shape in his towel and crawls along the hallway. I get Charlie into pajamas while he looks at Henry in the hallway and shrieks with laughter at his weirdo brother.
Both kids are dressed and Nick’s back. Kids go bananas in Henry’s room. I say goodnight to Henry while pulling Charlie off his bed.
Nick and I collapse into bed and watch TV, scroll on phones, and if we have the energy, talk.
Whine that we don’t want to go to bed yet because it’s going to start all over the next day.
November 4, 2018 § 2 Comments
It’s been one week since my Dad suddenly passed away. It’s been a crazy week with every moment claimed by planning for his funeral and then Henry’s fifth birthday party, but now that things have calmed down, I wanted to share and save the eulogy that Jenn, Ryan, and I gave on Thursday. The officiant of the service, Tonia, basically told the three of us that we’d be writing and delivering the eulogy and at first we were like “Us??? But didn’t we just hire you for that?” And then she phrased it perfectly: this would be the final gift we could give our Dad.
It was really something to put our energy into writing the perfect piece about Dad and putting together the perfect slideshow to represent his 63 years. Here’s what we said and some photos from the slideshow.
May 9, 2018 § 2 Comments
I’m back after a long blog hiatus because of two of my favourite things: Harry Potter and Henry.
This morning at breakfast, Henry asked me if Dumbledore was a “good guy”. He had been playing a LEGO Harry Potter video game at his friend’s house on the weekend. Also, at Henry’s age, he and his friends are very into “good guys” and “bad guys”. I said, yes, he’s a good guy and a great wizard in the books. Henry asked who the bad guy was, so I reminded him about Voldemort. (We haven’t read the books yet, but of course, I love to tell him anything he wants to know about Harry Potter whenever he asks ;) )
Henry’s next question was a good one and proof that kindergarteners can really make you think sometimes: why is Voldemort bad?
In school this year, Henry’s really paying attention to the other kids’ behaviours and trying some of it on for himself, experimenting with what behaviour gets what kind of reaction, but in the end, Nick and I like to remind him that we like Henry the best, and he’s back to himself shortly after. He tries to tell me that some kids are bad, but I like to ask him questions about why he thinks his classmate was acting that way. Were they sad or tired or grumpy? Maybe they were having a bad day. Can he remember a time he felt like that?
So I was faced with this question about Voldemort that I’ve never really stopped to think about before, despite being a huge Harry Potter fan. In a movie or book you just accept that the villains are the villains and the heroes are the heroes. But I wanted to give an empathetic answer, so I told him how Voldemort had no parents and no friends and maybe that just made him a sad and angry person. Then I told him how Harry actually told Voldemort how he felt sorry for him because he will never know love or friendship in the big fight scene at the end of The Order of the Phoenix. It sounds so cheesy, but it really is what life is all about and Henry got it immediately. He teared up and came to me for a hug.
Four year olds ask the best questions sometimes. And I cannot wait to read these books full of great life lessons to Henry and Charlie.
December 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
At first, I didn’t think I had enough to write about this year. After all, it was mainly spent as Henry’s first year of life. Wasn’t I just surviving the challenging first year of a new baby? But after reviewing my entries, I realized that no, a lot HAS happened! It’s also pretty incredible to see Henry’s accomplishments and developments fast forwarded through monthly updates. And through it all, I actually managed to do a few things on my own as well ;)
Here’s my recap of the amazing year that was 2014. Happy New Year!
It’s a very cold and snowy winter, and I have a newborn baby. My patience is tested again and again, but I continue to remind myself that life is good.
Nick goes on his first trip since Henry was born. Very little sleep was had. I almost cry when I see how much they missed each other when he returns.
We celebrate our first Family Day as a family.
We officially survive the super-challenging Newborn Stage!!!
We hire two babysitters for Henry. One works out great (the other, not so much). Our good friend Annie also starts to watch him every Sunday morning so Nick and I can go to yoga together, then we come back and all eat lunch together. I loved this routine!
Nick travels to London for work and his trip gets stretched to 5 days because of a New York snowstorm. Henry only sleeps an hour at a time, for 5 nights in a row. (Recording this event is a surefire way to make me second-guess ever having another baby!)
After that trip, we decide it is time to teach Henry to sleep. It’s not as hard as we thought and life improves 9000%. The only downside is that he stopped taking a bottle. I decide sleep is better than freedom anyway, and anyone who disagrees has never truly been tested with sleep deprivation ;)
I take on my first social media client since taking maternity leave in October. It’s great to use my brain for work again! I also begin to wear jeans again.
Henry starts to reveal his amazing sense of humour.
The dark hair Henry was born with falls out and comes back in blonde. He is doing great with sleeping through the night and takes three naps a day!
The three of us fly to Toronto to spend Easter with my family. Henry is more interesting to his cousins than he was at Christmastime as a 1 1/2 month old and I get to see Jenn who is pregnant with her twins. My uncle Brian recently found out he was sick and I’m so happy that he, my aunt Sam, and cousin Hillary all come for a visit too.
Henry is 6 months old! He starts to sit up and gets his first tooth. He also falls in love with the baby swings at the playground.
The nice weather is such a game changer for passing the day with a baby. We start to spend most of our day, every day, outside. It’s especially wonderful as Nick continues to have to travel for work.
Nick and I book our first babysitter for an evening date. (Why did it take us so long?)
My first Mother’s Day is a bit of a disaster as I find out that Henry is allergic to nuts in a very dramatic way. The day was salvaged by a lunch visit from Annie and Sarah.
We enjoy our first long weekend as a family! Every weekend should be three days long for those with kids, as far as I’m concerned.
Henry starts to eat solid foods including avocado, pears, sweet potato and banana.
Nick’s first Father’s Day is a success and his Dad even comes to visit.
My parents also spent a weekend with us!
We lost our wonderful babysitter Sherry to a full-time job, but she showed us what we wanted/needed in a sitter so we were able to find Henry’s new best friend, Valerie.
Mealtimes with Henry continue to be a little trying as he gets used to the notion of eating. He demands that stories be read to him continuously through each meal.
We start our tradition of taking him out to Brooklyn Label for lunch every weekend, which he LOVES. (Ceiling fans and pretty girls to smile at!)
Henry really starts to get enthusiastic about things like swinging, reading, and pigeons – he will let out a very loud shriek of excitement!
Nick and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary :)
We take Henry to Canada for the third time to celebrate my Grandma’s 80th birthday with a ton of family at my parents’ cottage. I also get to see my friend Sara, who now lives in Scotland, for the first time in 5 years.
Henry starts really crawling while we are at my parents’ house!
Jenn has her twins, Charlotte and Cameron!
Henry continues to crawl and wants to practice pushing himself up to sit from a crawling position in his crib before every nap. This results in multiple instances of falling asleep sitting up. Of course, we had to take pictures every time. Thanks, video monitor!
As Henry starts to eat more food and needs me around less to nurse, I am able to have my first client meeting in the city for work. This feels like an amazing break instead of actual work!
Julia, Jay, and Blake come to visit us in Greenpoint.
Nick and I go to Ben and Haley’s wedding at the end of the month. Henry is put to bed without me for the first time ever and does great.
Our good friends the Vastanos welcome their second son, Royce!
Henry is no longer satisfied with just crawling and starts to pull himself up to stand. He practices on the couch in the living room, along the walls, the wall unit, the windows, and in his crib while he should be sleeping. The afternoon nap is a thing of the past. Sleeping through the night is also waning :(
We spend Thanksgiving, my birthday, and Nick’s birthday with family in Canada. We get to meet the new Martin twins!
Henry’s first Halloween is a success as he actually wears a complete donkey costume, including the head, for a walk to the kids’ store hosting a party and around the neighbourhood. Nick and I were dying of a cute overload.
We are thankful for extra time together over Thanksgiving.
We take Henry (and his bottle) to the New York Transit Museum.
I was lucky enough to get to see Smashing Pumpkins play Webster Hall the night before their new album is released. I also visit Billy Corgan’s tea shop Madame ZuZu’s pop up shop at Physical Graffitea in St. Mark’s Place that day to buy a SP mug and some MZZ tea.
Celebrated the holidays with my old company, The Agency Group, after being invited to their Christmas party by Kate.
Sadly, my uncle Brian passed away five days before Christmas.
I was happy to be able to spend Christmas in Canada with family as usual and to give everyone a hug after going through a tough time.
Tonight, Nick and I will be continuing our New Year’s Eve tradition by watching When Harry Met Sally. Can you believe this is what we did two years ago?
December 10, 2014 § Leave a comment
Since Henry has turned one year old, I haven’t been posting monthly updates. It’s partly because kids aren’t constantly changing as much at 12 months and don’t have quite as many milestones to hit, and as a parent, you mellow out and aren’t in a never-ending state of confusion/amazement, and partly because he keeps me so busy that I have trouble finding the time to write!
I will tell you though, having a toddler is serious business.
Henry has been walking for over two months now. Crawling is one thing, but when Henry learned to walk, he discovered his hands were free to drive us crazy.
You have to admire his enthusiasm though – everything is something waiting to be discovered! Nick and I have decided Henry’s mantra is “What can I touch?! What can I grab?!” This repeats in his head over and over, as long as he is awake.
Currently, his favourite things to do are to open the freezer, peek inside the kitchen garbage can, stick his fingers in all the crevices of all the doors, open and close the door in his room, play with all the blinds, try and steal his baby monitor from my nightstand, open drawers, open the front door and run down the hallway, lift the lids of toilets, and probably a few more dirty/dangerous things that I’ve forgotten at the moment.
As exhausting as it is to be constantly prying him off of something dirty and/or dangerous, he is so. much. fun.
As the weather has gotten colder and it’s rained a thousand inches of water in NYC this month, Nick and I have decided to make more of an effort to take him out to new places. On Thanksgiving weekend, we visited the NYC Transit Museum. Although Henry’s a little young to care about what it is he’s seeing, he thoroughly enjoyed running around with other kids and touching buses and other contraptions. (His bottle enjoyed it too.)
Meals out with friends are another great way to keep him entertained, with the underlying experience of learning how to behave at restaurants. A very important lesson for New York children!
In short, life is good!
December 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.