This Week at the Brennans’

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Eddie, Brooke and Blake sitting on a statue
Remember that one time we went outside? Yeah, that was fun.

Sheltering in place is so fun! We’re not bored at all! (not)

Here’s what happened these past two weeks:

Well, online school has officially begun. It started last Monday, so that puts us just over a week in. Brooke is THRIVING! She loves starting her work right after breakfast and working until it is done, usually around 12:30 or 1. Sometimes she will be on a zoom call with her teacher, sometimes her whole class or even on Facetime with friends, working on group projects. She is a rockstar.

On the other hand, me having to oversee and teach Blake has been a struggle for me. Mainly because I can’t just sit down and work with him. I have Eddie to entertain and Porter to feed, or put down for a nap or hold. Both Eddie and Porter are huge distractions for Blake so trying to get him to focus on work is…difficult. I hate giving Eddie his iPad all morning just so we can make it work, but that is what I’ve had to do in order to help Blake. He loves all the books he can read online. He is such a bookwork! He retains just about every interesting fact there is, as long as its something he’s interested in (dinosaurs, animals, insect)  He also can fly through science, math and spelling. It’s really just the writing that he abhors. And as luck would have it, they are supposed to be focusing on a writing project for a good chunk of their time. I don’t know how to teach him how or why this is important. So that’s been a real TREAT to deal with.

Meanwhile, I made an appointment for Porter to see a Gastroenterologist because the Pediatrician was worried he wasn’t absorbing food properly. He had a lackluster weight gain at our last appointment so she wanted us to see a specialist. Last week I got an email notification letting us know the appointment was going to be virtual. I was skeptical about the whole thing (mainly because it was going to be a pricey little video call) but the gastroenterologist was really sweet and had a million questions and even though she was only seeing Porter over a video, she was thorough. She was confident he is completely fine and gave me some ideas on how he could pick up weight quickly.

Feeding Porter a bottle

Porter has been very very hesitant to take a bottle and I thought he would NEVER take one because of how quick he was to spit it out. We tried three different kinds with no success. Call it luck or a newfound determination to make him gain weight, I got him to take a bottle. Not just take a bottle begrudgingly, but take a bottle happily! What was my trick? A little sprinkle of cinnamon in the formula and a few drops of maple syrup on the bottle nipple! That rascal knew exactly how to take a bottle, he just hated what he was drinking. After he took a few bottles consistently, I’ve never been so relieved. It was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. One less thing to worry about for sure!

My marathon training has taken a real hit with this stay inside forevermore business. Yes we can go outside here and there, but with the number of sick people here in New York, we feel it is safest to stay inside. So, no outdoor running for me. Luckily we have a treadmill, so I can sort of stay on track though I’ve had terrible back pain recently. I can run about three miles before the pain kicks in, so I’ve just been running three. (Only 23 more to train for.) I’m actually really scared I won’t be able to do it/I will do it and mess up my back. November is a long ways away and a lot can happen between now and then buuuuuut for now I’m really nervous.

Gordon is working hard at work. What else is new. He has some long shifts that pull him away from the family all day but thankfully he has a few days off later in the week, so that will be so nice to see him again, especially for the kids. I’m the boring “do your school work” parent. He’s the fun “lets wrestle!” parent. Whatever. It is what it is.

We are so grateful to have a car! Namely because groceries have been so scarce here! The Trader Joes and Whole Foods have been closed for cleaning for several days (sick employees) and I know its been hard on lots of people, not just us. So we have been driving out of the city to get groceries and bringing them back with us. It’s not perfect but the grocery stores in Jersey and Westchester are so much bigger, therefore better stocked. Still not brave enough to go to Costco, but thinking about it! (PS-I used to order my groceries online and have them delivered but lately, all their delivery time slots have been booked out until at least mid April. So that’s not an option anymore.)

Porter in a stroller with the other kids walking ahead
**taken two weeks ago

What has helped:

I know I must sound like a debbie downer, but staying inside not feeling like anything is getting accomplished is SO.HARD. So here is a list of a few things we have gotten that has helped our little family.

GAMES. Of the card, dice and board variety. Namely Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza. And Farkle. And Spot It. And Unstable Unicorns.

PUZZLES. Ok, these are basically sold out most places. Buuuut, I found this beauty in stock and its taken us DAYS to just put together the edges. I also ordered this puzzle of the 50 states for the kids (but really I got it for me so this Canadian girl can learn US geography.)

BOOKS. This one gives me LIFE. It’s the perfect coffee table book to thumb through for a laugh. Also, I found this cool book called ‘NYC Then and Now” and its all about the architecture of the city 100 years ago vs. today. Really interesting, especially for people familiar with the old NYC. Of course I find myself re-reading this one. I just love this book, 3rd time around.

RETAIL THERAPY. Nothing like a pandemic to really put you in the mood. This sweater (so cute!). I used to have a shirt like this YEARS ago and was so happy to find one similar that is just as comfy. Got this for running and turns out its the softest thing ever. I wear it around the house now. Also these workout capris (except I’m short and they read as pants) because why not?

BAKING. Chocolate Chip Cookies? Check. Carrot Cake? Check. Banana Bread? Check. Gaining 15 pounds? Check.

What has helped you guys through this craziness? Would love to get your thoughts.

Porter sitting in a high chair
Really likes food.

Here’s what is coming up this next week:

A whole lot of nothing? Me trying to work (ha!), kids continuing school, us all staying inside 24/7. Really thankful we got a larger apartment last year when I was pregnant.

I think that’s it! Stay healthy, dear readers! We love you!

Polaroid photo of granola bars

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17 Responses
  1. Carolyn S Cheeseman

    I loved this update. Glad you’re all healthy, but I’m so sorry its stressful. I’ve been thinking about you all xo

  2. Lori Theisen

    Glad to hear you are all safe, I am sure it is crazy there with so many people sick. I think no matter where you live the shelves are empty. We live in a small town in Upper Michigan and have just one grocery store in our town so if you want to go to a Meijer, ALDI’S or a Walmart you have to drive a hour just to shop. About a week ago I went out to get food and stocked up for about a month since I do not even want to go out in public or be around sick people to bring that nasty bug home to the kids. Thankfully we live in rural area and we are able to get out to go for walks to keep us sane. But basically we are doing the same, games, puzzles baking to try and stay busy with everything closed down. Once again I enjoy your recipes and blog , Please continue to stay safe and unfortunately stay home and away from the nasty bug going around.

  3. Mireya

    I am glad you posted a family update. I live in Ohio and was getting worried about your family. We’re also doing online school during a stay at home order. These are crazy times, but I keep telling my kids they are experiencing history. A great writing exercise is to ask Blake a set of questions on a topic his interested in. His answers should be in his own words and full sentences. Then he has sentences to build a paragraph or two. It’s all about organizing. Hope this helps.

    -Mireya

  4. Jeanne

    Lauren! Where have you been hiding that Mexican Corn recipe???!! I was looking for something to do with corn that wasn’t on the cob… THIS – LOOKS – AMAZING!!!! I cannot wait to try this tonight for Taco Tuesday! You have never let me down and I am SO excited.

    I will let you know how it turns out with Taco Tuesday tonight. WOO HOO!

  5. Melissa R

    Hearing about the terrible situation in NYC, I have been thinking about you and your sweet family. I think grocery stores are not fully stocked all over. We live in a small town in NC and meat has not been available for weeks. Several of us are stalking the grocery store for meat, tp, and paper towels. I have resorted to some canned veggies since fresh and frozen are in short supply. We have planted our garden early so we have high hopes for that. We do have an asparagus bed and it has started producing! Yay! Stay safe and well! This to shall pass😊

  6. Jennifer-Anne Creekmore

    We are homeschoolers in Georgia but the stay at home thing is even weird for us. Thankful we can go outside though on our land. I think you are doing the right thing by staying home though. You keep cooking and I will keep saving/making your recipes. I will say my daughter and I have gotten in some serious cooking time these last few weeks. I am hitting my treadmill and inside bike pretty good trying to keep up with the increased calories…lol. Stay safe..your friend in Ga.

  7. Donna

    Brooke is sure changing from a little girl look to a beautiful young lady!!!! She appears to be getting taller also….
    You make it sound like so much fun at your house and I really enjoy reading your blog! Soon – hopefully we will all be getting back to a normal…..keep the faith and your chin up…you got this!

  8. Amber P

    It is so good to hear your family is well. I have been worried about your family and praying everyone is well. It is stressful enough here in TX, I cannot imagine NYC right now. A lot of crafts, reading, electronics, movies and Just Dance keeping us busy (sort of). The kids actually look forward to the week days now so they have some school work to do online. Haha. How quickly things can change. Prayers for health and safety.

  9. Michelle Flanagan

    I’m not sure you have it in your area but try the app Instacart for shopping and delivery. It’s been a life saver for us since all the grocery store delivery services are booked for weeks. And it’s pretty reasonable. $9.99/month unlimited deliveries. Stay safe, stay home 😊

    1. Lauren

      Oh, yes! I know and love instacart. The only problem is there are no delivery times available. I’ve tried fresh direct, whole foods delivery (through amazon), Amazon prime fresh, Amazon prime now, no one has availability at any time and when they do open available windows, its for MAY! So we are forced to go shopping on our own. And quite frankly, I’d rather do it myself because I know how to lysol grocery bags and sanitize carts. You can’t always guarantee the cleanliness of your instacart shopper, not that they’re dirty, but at this point with all things considered I guess I can go get groceries.

  10. Shelli Bender

    So happy to hear you all are doing well! I do worry about you being in NYC. My daughter is staying with me through quarantine, and we have been doing odd deco crafting lately. Of course baking during the morning hours. Proudly made my first loaf of sandwich bread. So yummy!! and so easy!! Probably won’t go back to store-bought now *laughs*
    Everyone stay healthy!
    Blessings to all

  11. Suzi H

    I have all 3 of my kids home, 2 from college. The only one I have to work to motivate is the high schooler. I cannot imagine being in your shoes right now – kudos to you for doing whatever you can to get through!! iPad hours or whatever! We have to be flexible, right? Re: running… when did you last get new shoes? I know you can’t exactly go get fitted right now, but you could order several from Zappos and return what doesn’t work. I also have issues when I run on a treadmill because I feel like I run tense – worried about missteps, etc. (Plus I just hate the treadmill/running inside, so I’m grumpy about it.) And you’re right… there’s a long time until Nov. Some friends and I were supposed to run a half this weekend, but it’s delayed til Nov. also. We’re bummed for sure – and well trained at the moment! Hang in there and have a great rest of your week!!

    1. Lauren

      I got new shoes for Christmas! They’re apparently good. My poor, old body is just fighting getting back into pre-pregnancy shape.

  12. Lorena Brown

    Lauren – you and Gordon are doing a great job just hanging in there with your kiddos. Happy to hear that Porter will be another “taster” of your great food. I hardly recognize Blake as he is changing so much. He’s always been a smart kid, so keeping his interest may be tricky. How about having him do “dinosaur” reports on different dinosaurs? Or other topics of interest? How about growing a mini-garden? (There’s a science lesson to be had there somewhere.) Brooke is becoming more and more beautiful. Watch out, mama! And Eddie with his eyes! WOW. You are a gem of a person and so glad that you guys are staying well and being safe. You’ve got this!

  13. Jenny Ledford

    So glad you and your family are safe, situation in NYC are scary. Don’t know how you do it with 4 kids, you are a Rock Star!!!! At least now the kids can do their school work at home with the technology we have and are blessed with. Stay sane my friend, we will get thru this and everything will be cautiously back to normal.

    Our stores are trying to get back to normal as much as possible. There was actually some meat in the store today. Still no TP but had my son in Utah mail me some!!! Cost me $47 to ship but hay when your desperate your desperate. Glad you have a car to go outside the city and get groceries.

  14. Tina Zamora

    I live about 30 miles from Los Angeles, we have a lot of stores around us Target, Walmart, Albertsons etc. The big stores like Walmart and Target do not have toilet paper, napkins , cereal,, can goods., cleaning supplies basically the things you need are gone off the shelves. I find going to smaller markets have meats, eggs ,milk, things you can make a decent breakfast lunch and dinner with. I was surprised that The Dollar Tree had toilet paper and tissue paper were I live.. Toilet paper is toilet paper when you need it, right? My son is 19 and is doing his college courses online from home. So far so good. Might have to buy another laptop he says it’s slow. I say good luck with that one mostly gone too since everyone needs one now. As for me, no small Children but plenty to do around the house, books to read weeds to pull pictures to put in albums. Thank you for sharing your recipes and family, stay healthy and don’t forget to take five minutes for yourself,

  15. Lauren T

    So glad to see that you all are doing well. I am in the Midwest, and we start online school this week. We’ll see how it goes!

    I sometimes get back pain when I run as well. I have found online yoga workouts to be helpful. The YMCA Y360 has a free video of yoga for cyclists and runners that has been helpful, or yoga with Adriene (free on YouTube) has some for back pain as well as hips and hamstrings. I can’t promise your kids won’t pile on top of you when you try yoga with everyone at home (mine do!), but it might be worth a try. Praying for you all!