My usual run to the esplanade is usually bustling with people of all walks of life, not a parking spot to be seen, cars waiting at every traffic light. These days, it’s a deserted city until you get to the esplanade where it almost feels like nothing is different aside from the number of people wearing masks and gloves.
I’ve never seen Boylston or Newbury Streets so quiet except for right after the Marathon bombing. It’s sad, scary, unnerving but somewhat bittersweet as it gives you hope we can flatten this curve.
I never expected to write a blog post about city living in Boston during a global pandemic, with small children nevertheless, but here we are.
Our neighbor says the South End feels like a summer weekend when everyone empties out. But it’s not empty. The streets are still filled with parked cars.
Many of you have been asking when we are moving to our suburb house and if this effected our actual move and the short answer is no. Our timeline is still the same, which is finishing up the school year. I can’t go into details for privacy reasons. Until then, we plan for the most part to stay in the city with our two kids, Tommy (4) and Connor (1).
So, we are making things work in our apartment, with Nick working from home, myself working from home and zero outside help like most of you.
In Boston, our schools and nonessential businesses are closed until May 4th as of now. Of course this may change. The playgrounds have been closed but we are allowed to go outside for exercise practicing social distancing. Some people don’t think the rules apply to themselves and have still been allowing their children on playground equipment which is infuriating to see for many reasons.
The esplanade is always busy but for the most part people do stay 6 feet away from one another except when passing one another which is tough since it’s busy and the walk ways aren’t that wide. We were running to the Esplanade and then letting the kids run free on Teddy Ebersol field which was always totally empty. I’m not sure if they closed it down this week as people were still playing games apparently like soccer on the various fields whose access was not restricted.
I saw they locked the soccer field in SoWa so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did which is kind of a shame because it was always quiet and it was one of the few places I felt relaxed about letting my kids run in the city. We also played a game of hide and seek at the Boston Common which was more quiet than the esplanade shockingly.
As of Monday, we are now recommended to wear face masks when outside. As a results, we’ve been reluctant to go for walks/runs because we don’t have any for the kids and ours are makeshift. The boys have not left the house since Saturday.
Keeping the Kids Entertained and Exercised
Many of you asked what we are doing with the kids to keep them entertained and running. Tommy has a zoom meeting once a day with his preschool class for 20-45 minutes. It is a struggle to get him to sit and listen. He is great in school but has never been great for me in paying attention to a teacher/coach if I’m around and Zoom School has been no different. We also have a schedule provided to us by the school to try to keep some things familiar. We have projects to do with them as well. This week and last week, we worked on a rainforest project and are making one in our living room!
Tommy loves to draw and color so we’ve been doing a lot of that. He and Connor also love building. Thank god for magnatiles! I’ve tried to do Cosmic Yoga on YouTube with the kids (highly recommend) but Tommy can take it or leave it, usually participating in like 10% of the moves. I tried Peloton family workouts which Tommy honestly was more into than Yoga, especially counting his toe raises.
We were going for walks but stopped as mentioned above. We do scavenger hunts outside on our patio. Tommy has also taken a liking to lacrosse! His first actual sign of interest in anything athletic besides running. The kids jump on our trampoline and literally run circles around our kitchen island and jump on the couch.
I tried to have Tommy film a YouTube workout video with me but it didn’t turn out amazing, although I do plan to share!
We try to read books but I’m not gonna lie, we fill in the rest with a lot of tv and during Connor’s naps, I’ll let Tommy watch his iPad so I can actually get some things done.
We are LUCKY. I have a part time job that can be done from my phone half the time or not done at all which just means lack of paycheck but I’m the only person disappointed in my productivity. Nick’s schedule has been flexible so he’s been a HUGE help in letting me try to do as much as I can but it’s been hard to balance it all. See below paragraph for more.
I got a ton of art supplies and plan to try to do more projects with construction paper, glue sticks, markers and scissors.
The days go by quick somehow. We wake up, I usually exercise in the morning doing a live workout or a FWTFL workout using a set of adjustable weights I bought from Walmart before they sold out everywhere. I do “school” with Tommy late morning and then do his projects with him while Connor entertains himself or begs to be held, we eat lunch, Connor naps, we do an activity or go outside and then it’s dinner and bath time it feels like!
Before we left for the Bahamas on March 12th, I went to Whole Foods and stocked up on essentials to have in case we were ordered to shelter in place. It was a precautionary measure I wasn’t expecting. I’m planning to write a longer post about our visit to Baha Mar but that is going to be a separate post so please save questions, comments, snark for that one! We have not been back to a grocery store since and have relied on grocery delivery.
We’ve been lucky ordering Whole Foods through Amazon prime. Although, it’s always a frustrating game. I select the items I want, put them in my cart and then when I go to check out, there are zero delivery time options. When I check back during the day (they release new times randomly throughout day), and I see one, I click to submit my order! Seconds later, I realize 10-30% of my order is no longer available and I’m not able to add anything or make substitutions even though my shopper isn’t going to begin shopping for at least 24 hours. It’s very frustrating. However, the food does get delivered about 24 hours later, so that’s not bad.
I did get groceries delivered from my friends at Juice Press. They are delivering organic produce and some of their signature items for a delivery fee of $6.99 around the city. I will likely do this again next week when our produce is depleted but still have bread and yogurt for the kids. I’m thinking of signing up as well for a CSA like Seina Farms and something like Waldon Farms or ButcherBox for meat. Red’s Best seafood, a local favorite favorite is doing curbside pick up at the Fish Pier HQ! We also still get our Daily Harvest (get $25 off first delivery with code SarahFit) deliveries and I’m thinking of starting to order Blue Apron again or trying something new like Marley Spoon.
I can’t get over how much food we go through eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at home. In the city, it’s so easy to eat out at least 1 or 2 meals a day. It’s something we do regularly. Sure, it’s not fiscally smart but when Flour is a block away it’s hard turn down temptation.
Nick and I also keep joking that we feel leaner since we aren’t eating as much food that’s been prepared in restaurants! We’re probably eating less calories overall unintentionally because I just don’t cook with a ton of butter and oil and our portions are normal.
We have done take out however to support our favorite local South End restaurants. We’ve done Picco twice, Blackbird before they closed, South End Buttery once, Mela once and ordered Easter brunch from Flour Bakery. AND of course, two deliveries from Urban Grape!!!
Every time we have delivered groceries or pick up take out we feel like we are hitting the reset button on whether or not we pick up the virus and it’s stressful so while we want to support the local economy, it feels impossible to keep up with the precautionary measures.
So what’s it really like being stuck inside all day? To be honest, it’s not all that bad. I’ve discovered I can be pretty lazy and I actually enjoy it sometimes! In non pandemic times, we have a very scheduled routine and it’s quite nice not feeling like if I’m constantly rushing.
I’m enjoying being able to lie in bed until 8 some mornings, having an extra pair of helpful hands and spending time as a family. I’m not as productive without our beloved Nanny but making the best of it and taking turns with Nick in regards to who is watching the kids.
Luckily, we own our building in the South End and the unit below us happened to be vacant this month so we’ve been using it as office space and utilizing the outdoor patio which we usually do not have access to. Our new renters are moving in next month so we’re hoping this doesn’t prolong.
Are people wearing masks?
I left the house Sunday night to pick up pizza but I haven’t left since! People were starting to wear masks before Sunday’s announcement but Sunday night (post Mayor Walsh’s announcement), more people definitely had them on. I had a makeshift version, and when I saw someone without a mask, I wanted to take mine off but when I saw someone with a mask, I put mine right back on! We have two now, a friend made one for us and I made the other with a bandana but I still don’t have them for the kids and not sure what I’m gonna do because they won’t likely wear them!
Are people talking to each other on balconies?
Some people are in my neighborhood but not our back patio. The South End went viral with singing from windows but not every street is this friendly I guess, haha.
What are other’s doing?
Most people are following rules, wearing masks and gloves in the city but not all. Just Saturday, I posted a video to my Instagram shaming a dad who was letting his 3 kids climb all over the Esplanade playground which has been closed for at LEAST 2.5 weeks with signs.
It’s hard to “STAY HOME” with young kids but it’s stupid to do this. Not only are you putting your family at risk but you’re also causing friction within other families who have told their children they can’t play on gym equipment. I got a lot of DMs from people saying neighbors have decided to quarantine with each other letting their kids play with each other only causing other kids in the neighborhood to feel lonely and frustrated that their own parents won’t let them play, too! This sucks for everyone. We aren’t going to be able to literally not leave our house until May 4th but we’re trying to avoid it this week.
Many of our friends with second homes in Nantucket or Cape Cod have left the city but left when our Spring Break began so around 3/13. I originally wanted to go to my mom’s but she was sick herself as many of you know. She doesn’t have Covid-19 but she had acute bronchitis and I don’t want to put her at risk. Also, on the cape, there really are no grocery delivery options so we’d potentially be exposing ourselves and then bringing it home to my mom and her husband.
How am I not going insane?
Well, I have 2 glasses of wine a night. I realize this isn’t forever and am trying to enjoy having Nick around and getting to spend all this time with my boys at such a precious age (that happens to also be exhausting). Nick travels a lot and it’s been a challenging year for me, I’m always exhausted. It’s nice having Nick around during the day. I also see the light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s not until August when we will be in our own house.
Connor also potty trained himself at 20 months, so there’s one win for ya!
But in all honesty, when we first got back, I was super enthusiastic about home workouts and really working HARD on my blog/YouTube Channel! Then the preschool school work came, kids started acting funny and balancing everything just felt exhausting. I love my job but I love my family too and I’ve always struggled to find balance so this week, I did less on my blog/YouTube and chose to spend that time with the kids because it’s a choice I can make and I know I’m fortunate. I also don’t want you guys to feel like slackers for not doing a workout at home, I’m not here to breathe down your necks that you must be fit by the end of quarantine. Like, who cares? Let’s just survive.
So if Day 1 of quarantine Sarah was like, LFG, day 23 is like, let’s have a glass of wine, watch some good tv shows and text each other memes. Maybe day 24 Sarah will be motivated again to do a million live workouts but I’m currently a little sore and burnt out from all the home workouts.
Lastly, the day we got back to Boston I bawled my eyes out. We came home to a very different Boston. These were supposed to be the best months, my last 3 months as a city mom. I wasn’t ready to leave and now I can’t wait to get out. I feel like I don’t get to have my final farewell but who knows. We all are allowed to have different emotions and I’ve only had one other real breakdown since. I’m trying to stay strong and PATIENT.
Stay safe everyone. Love you all!
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