Four parents, seven children

Hello dear friends,

Many things have happened in the last few months but as you might have noticed, very little time to blog around.

The kids are finally off school. Which means no more school work, just as we were finally getting into a healthy routine. Our first month of confinement was a disaster. We had no schedule, we were waking up late, the kids were playing computer games the whole day, I wasn’t sure if we were allowed to go for walks (in theory yes, but nobody was outside, and there was the whole “stay home” thing, it was weird), we would eat at no hours. It was a mess.

Then online schooling started. At first, I was under the illusion that I would be able to work on editing (the most time consuming part of the audiobook production) while the kids were quietly doing their homework. How wrong was I ! I was being interrupted every 5 minutes: the kids either needed help, would start fighting, or I would need to check on them because nothing would get done if left to their own devices… I was getting increasingly exasperated and stressed because I couldn’t concentrate on my own job. After the first week, I realized that it was not a good plan, I had to accept not to be able to work on my editing during daytime. I needed to establish some kind of schedule to keep everyone sane:

  • No more computer in the morning for the kids.
  • They breakfast on their own (cereals or toast), read, draw or play lego. I usually wake after them, so I just pray they don’t fight too loud before I slowly emerge from my slumber.
  • We go for a walk at least once a day, late morning or in the afternoon. (Our family walks are in the evening now from 7 to 9pm because the sun is still up and the temperatures are more pleasant).
  • Homework from 2pm to 4pm.
  • At 4pm, I give them a snack and tell them to go play at the park behind the house for one hour. They have a watch, they stay together, and I can see them (or hear them) from the kitchen window, or my office window. It’s pretty safe.
  • When they come back, they can finally go play on the computer downstairs. It’s usually quiet. I can get some work done then too, but I usually wait until everyone is sleeping. I go to bed very late myself (2 or 3am).

I don’t know why it took me so long to organize a schedule. It’s how I worked best when I needed to balance my student life between classes, practice, rehearsals and work. It was what saved me when the twins were infants. When some kind of structure is established, I find it relaxing because it gives me direction and I know that I will get things done. Each thing has its own time slot !

Two months later than initially planned, I’ve finally finished my latest audio book project (Au nom des pères)! The author didn’t seem bothered by the delay. He was understanding and praised the quality of my work regularly. I will write about it again later when the book is out in the audio world. It was a fantastic story. 😎

But now, no more homeschooling during the day, no more audio book project at night : what am I going to do with all my free time ??? (a rhetorical question: I have plenty of other things to do — writing in this blog for example 😉 )

The New Library

Last time I wrote over here, I quickly mentioned that we had a new library in the neighborhood. I was very excited about it and could not wait to show you pictures of it, of the fall colors all around, of the kids Halloween makeup, etc. But then, as usual, life happened and I was very busy with other things such as (but not limited to) :

finishing editing an audio book (a novel in French ! ), (Le Jardin secret de Marie, de Coralie Raphael — Une histoire extraodinaire, magique, pleine de mytères, de rebondissements et un amour pas comme les autres… Comme on dit en portugais adorei!)

reading an excellent novel (Sunshine by Robin McKinley — a post-apocalyptic fantasy with magical creatures, including a vampire, but no romance, which was oddly very satisfying to me, though maybe not to everyone’s taste. A genre in its own, I guess),

keep swimming as much as I could but not as much as I should (it’s very dark and cold now at 7:30AM and it’s already kind of depressing, and not motivating me at all to hop on my bicycle and go swimming, so I’ve sadly been slacking on my exercising. I really should get into a new routine of going there late mornings or evenings. Still debating),

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Autumn leaves 1

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Autumn leaves 2

getting soaked to the bone while trick or treating on Halloween with the kids (we left the house at 5PM, a little early, to make sure to collect enough candies before the rain. After a slow start (some houses were decorated but no one a the door… Why?), we had about 20 minutes of productive collecting before it started raining, then pouring rain. By that time we were cold and the kids’ bags were full and heavy, so we came back home with squeaky shoes, cold fingers, wet candies and a smile on our faces.)

Did you feast your eyes on the fall pictures above? Yes? Good. Because all day yesterday, and it looks like today too, the white stuff is falling from the sky. And not just a small little first snow of the season, no, it’s non stop snowing galore! In November! School buses have been cancelled for the day, the kids will be home, and so it begins…

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An inconvenient neighbor

I was about to record the twentieth and last chapter of my current audio book project. It was late morning, all seemed quiet. The kids were at school and my husband was gone at welding school/work. I had just come back from exercising; I was awake and my voice too. Outside, nobody was mowing their lawn or building a garden shed (thank God, lawn enthusiasts and garden builders are finally cooling down — literally) , and the train and its many whistles had just passed the crossing. I closed the window and the door to my home studio.

All set!

Toc-toc-toc!

What the…?

Toc-toc-toc!

The knocking came from behind my wall, the outside corner that faces the backyard and the park. Sometimes I can hear the squirrels climbing the wall and the roof, but they don’t stay long. That one kept knocking on my…

Toc-toc-toc!

I replied with all my rage by knocking on my side of the wall as if it was a very inconvenient neighbor. BAM-BAM-BAM. Get awaaayyyy!

Toc-toc-toc!

Nope, didn’t work. I opened my window, couldn’t see a thing because of the the bug screen, took that off too, and came face to face with a… A bird! No way, such a pretty bird pecking at the wall! We watched each other, stunned for a couple of seconds. When I finally thought I should take a picture (so pretty!), he hopped on a branch and flew away.

Another day he came back.

I was ready. (Camera ready, wrong lens — oops)

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