COVID19 life Weekend

5 on a Friday: V-Day & Various

February 12, 2021

1- In-School Valentine’s Day. For those of you with kids in in-person school, what is your V-Day situation?

Even between my kids, I have one where we were told to send in cards (G), one where we were told they would not be passing out anything but making environmentally-friendly Valentine projects in class (C, and cool!), and one where I’ve heard nothing so maybe A’s school is just skipping Valentine’s celebrations of all kinds this year.

(C’s teacher for the win! I will never complain about being told not to send something in and that the kids will have fun anyway. On that note, I would 383847384x rather donate money to a class for a group project than have to buy things myself and send in. But so often it’s the latter . . . )

2- TIME. This week felt really good from an efficiency/time use standpoint. I felt like my days were full (and plenty got done) but not rushed. On that note . . .

3- Please can I work remotely at least 2x/week for all eternity? (I have no idea what the answer to this is, but I am desperately hoping. Particularly if my kids are somewhere else. Yes, we are planning on camp this summer, most likely at the Montessori school.)

4- I spent my ‘night off’ last night reading Oona Out of Order in bed with spa music playing (Spotify massage playlist for the win!). I basically bolted up there the second Josh got home at ~7:15. Our current system of evenings is working really nicely. Having a night ‘off’ weekly to look forward to is really amazing. I would love to do something more social in theory but in reality a) obviously most social things are really difficult now, unless I do something virtual or outside and b) what I really need/crave most weeknights after talking to people all day is just extra rest and some quiet.

(Wednesday is his ‘free’ night and Tues/Fri are ‘work late if needed’ nights for him. Monday is designated family night. This started about a month ago and so far it really works!).

a fun read so far!

5- “Fancy” takeout? I am considering splurging on fancy takeout for this weekend, or maybe a future one. From a local place: here or here. Has anyone done this, and did it feel worth it?

PS: My parents got vaccinated with Moderna (following local rules of course, no line jumping!) in PA this past week! Such great news.

attempt at capturing the moon on an early run!


  • Reply Gillian February 12, 2021 at 6:42 am

    Our Valentine’s Day was much easier than usual this year! My 5 yo had to bring in valentines on Tuesday for distribution today. My Au Pair did this with him (so grateful for good child care!!!). My first grader is making valentines in class (whatever that means it required nothing of me) and my fifth grader is sending virtual valentines (in fifth grade at our school valentines are a real project where the kids write one thing they like about each child in the class and then each kid gets a book of valentines, which is lovely in theory but arduous for some children and I am happy not to be involved this year). In middle school there is no valentines day celebration…

    As for fancy takeout, we did VERY fancy takeout in the early pandemic days. Our 15th wedding anniversary was 4/9/20 and we were supposed to take a couples weekend. Obviously that didn’t happen. One of the original farm to table restaurants is near us–Blue Hill at Stone Barns. They were offering very fancy takeaway boxes. It was not a weekend away without the kids, but it did make the day at least a little special.

  • Reply Lori C February 12, 2021 at 7:04 am

    That view!!! I love the system you guys set up. The anticipating self must enjoy planning ahead for what you will do each Thursday. I’m not sure if you ever watched Outlander (or read it) but a friend suggested it so I just started watching it from the beginning. It’s addictive!! Fancy takeout is a nice idea. The hubby and I opted for a ridiculous early dinner out because I am making effort to isolate during pregnancy. We hit up a local upscale chain (not ideal) at about 4:30pm and had a delightful meal in an empty restaurant. I felt safe, and the food was great, and thanks to my insatiable appetite these days the early bird timeframe didn’t bother me. Just another idea for you!!

    • Reply Lori C February 12, 2021 at 7:10 am

      Also re: Vday- my kids Montessori school doesn’t allow exchanging of valentines, but they have been doing some heart themed crafts which is perfectly fine by me

  • Reply Jamie February 12, 2021 at 7:05 am

    My toddler and pre-k kids have a totally normal Valentines this year and while making them was ANNOYING, it felt refreshingly normal!

    For fancy takeout, ever tried Goldbelly? You can get easy heat meals of all kinds from all over (and, like, gourmet ice cream from 10 states away if you’d like). Not exactly take out but also not cooking and totally special!

  • Reply JT February 12, 2021 at 7:28 am

    I’m a 1st grade teacher in Washington. Our school has been 100% remote since September. We asked our principal well in advance if we could have students drop of Valentine’s at the school at a set time. We had a teacher work day, so my 1st grade team and I went and gave a window for parents to drop off Valentine’s if they wanted to participate. I then sorted them all into bags (this was Jan.29) and put a note on each bag to save for February 12th when we have our virtual party during synchronous class. We had a school wide distribution of materials on February 3rd, so we included the Valentine’s bags in their materials pick-up (along with fun crafts and projects). We will open our Valentine’s today and do some crafts, play a Valentine would-you-rather game and just enjoy being together (online). I can’t wait. One parent (not my class) complained and wanted us to bring a halt to it all saying it was unsanitary. One can draw their own conclusions there. We are the only grade level that arranged the pick up and drop off. It did take time and coordination, but it will be worth it to see the kids open their bags today. 🙂 I love teaching 1st grade. They are the best kids.

    • Reply Ruth February 12, 2021 at 9:05 am

      That you for setting that up for your students! My son is in first grade, remote learning, and his teacher also collected and sorted valentines for the class. I really appreciate that she was willing to do that and that he has something “normal” to look forward to.

  • Reply Janelle February 12, 2021 at 7:37 am

    No Valentines exchange for my kinder- not upset about this at all! She has no idea she’s missing anything. Jealous of your run pic, looks like you’re running through a resort!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 8:08 am

      It’s part of our neighborhood 🙂 I think it’s less fancy than it looks in this pic. definitely not a resort!

  • Reply Amanda February 12, 2021 at 7:51 am

    About your “night off,” do your kids ever complain about this? My husband is super willing to do this, and I have a plan for doing something out of the house one night per week starting in a couple of months, but I find that when I’m in the house my 2 year old (almost 2.5) knows it and always wants me engaged with her. My husband could probably do a better job distracting her, but it does pull my heartstrings when she says “mommy come back.” I assume that as they get older they understand this sort of thing more, and I really don’t feel a lot of mom guilt overall because I do spend a lot of time with her, but in the moment I usually just give in and keep playing with them.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 8:07 am

      Nope, josh makes it fun and I refuse to be guilty when I’m there 6/7 nights. G is now old enough to get that it’s daddy night and mommy gets a break just like the opposite happened the night before. I think it’s good for them to see that!

    • Reply Grateful Kae February 12, 2021 at 9:24 am

      This still happens to me when I try to “check out” but am at home sometimes…and my kids are 11 and 12!! I’m such a sucker!! haha! Can’t say no to those cute faces. 🙂 But I agree, no guilt is necessary! I’m really just a pushover, so it’s all on me. lol.

  • Reply Jessie February 12, 2021 at 7:59 am

    I’m so happy to hear your parents got their vaccines! This MA teacher is anxiously awaiting hers- the state has seriously made a mess of distribution here.

    My 3.5 y/o preschooler was asked to bring in valentines for her class (of 10), but cards only, no extras! That made me super happy, as the last few years I could not BELIEVE the elaborate things the parents would send in! (All the power to them, but I have a personal hatred of goody-bag-type toys.) We had fun picking out some boxed (Paw Patrol) valentines, and she attempted to write her classmates’ names. Of course even the simplest boxed valentines still come with a toy (at least this one just had pencils), so we just left those off. That being said, I really love what C’s teacher did! I am a high school teachers and even that age group needs some fun, so we are doing goofy digital valentines in our advisories today.

  • Reply Elisa February 12, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Oona was one of my favorite reads last year. The second I finished, I had to skim through it again looking for Easter eggs! I also loved The Midnight Library, which is a very different book but has many of the same themes.

  • Reply Leah February 12, 2021 at 9:48 am

    Broccolinis is amazing. Definitely worth it!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 10:03 am

      we went there once pre-pandemic and really enjoyed!

  • Reply Erin R February 12, 2021 at 10:16 am

    We’ve done fancy takeout several times and I love it! I try to also add music, candles, nice dishes etc and it feels special! I personally love the meals you finish at home so they’re fresh.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 10:45 am

      ooh that’s such a great idea, to add atmosphere!

  • Reply L February 12, 2021 at 10:23 am

    I got a fancy takeout meal for New Year’s Eve because it’s also my husband’s birthday. So I made the kids something quick and easy and we told them it was a date night dinner. They were welcome to try it and sit with us, or to watch tv or whatever. They didn’t mind at all. As they walked through the kitchen, two of them sat for a few minutes and even tried part of it. It was really nice. It was from a place we’ve gone several times and knew we’d like.

  • Reply KGC February 12, 2021 at 10:34 am

    I just want to echo your ‘please can I work remotely at least 2x/week for eternity’ comment. The lack of commute is a GAME-CHANGER for me and for the first time since having kids I feel like I have some semblance of a work-life balance. I feel very fortunate that my boss has already suggested that I may not need to be in the office 5 days/week once this is all over so I don’t think it will be a hard sell for me to only go in 2-3x/week. To me, that sounds like a lovely compromise.
    (note: like you, I have full time care for my kids even when I work from home. this is a requirement to make it work)

    I don’t know who makes ‘the rules’ for you as a clinical provider, but if you can demonstrate that you are equally (or more…) productive at home, then…it’s a hard argument to say no. Things that also may help: regular meetings with your supervisor to review upcoming tasks and those you’ve accomplished (this may not work if your job is less task-based but I find that my weekly meetings with my boss allow him to stay on top of what I’m doing), commit to a re-evaluation of productivity every 6 months or so to assess the balance of in-office time vs. home, look at HR policy to see if there’s really a reason that someone would give you a hard no for working from home, see if there is precedent in other departments, etc. Good luck!!!

  • Reply Beth February 12, 2021 at 10:41 am

    My kids’ school did exchange valentines but they were asked to bring them a week early to allow the Valentines to “quarantine.” This image cracks me up. Fortunately my kids are old enough now to fill out the Valentines themselves in a reasonable amount of time. And I just sent Starbucks e-gift cards to the teachers.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 10:47 am

      aww that is so nice! great idea to gift the teachers!

  • Reply A February 12, 2021 at 10:54 am

    Woot for the parents!! My dad just got his in PA and I swear, 50% of my mental load suddenly lifted right off.

    I just finished reading “At the Edge Of the Haight”-mixed on it, as it addresses the W Coast homelessness issue really nicely, BUT not sure if it’s a little too “person not in that marginalized group writing about the marginalized group”

    Also finished Normal People, which I loved, even though most of it was so much cringe at college kids and their inability to Communicate With Words.

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 4:47 pm

      so glad your dad got his too!!!! i’ve heard good things about normal people!

  • Reply omdg February 12, 2021 at 11:44 am

    The pandemic has strengthened my resolve to never participate in any parental participation activities for my daughter’s school ever again. I will gladly donate money or buy things, but that is as far as it will go. So glad you’re not getting roped into Valentine’s day ridiculousness with your kids’ school this year!

    As for fancy take out, we have done this a few times. Maybe it’s restaurant dependent? We’ve had good experiences ordering lamb / steak type fancy food, and also one sushi restaurant was excellent as well. Fancy taco place was a little mushy and gross and not great reheated. Fancy Indian place was AMAZING. YMMV depending on what is good near where you live. I say go for it! Ordering in new food is one of the few things I look forward to these days. Maybe I will regret this when I finally have to go into work in-person and none of my dress pants fit me anymore!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger February 12, 2021 at 4:45 pm

      we do sushi a lot and while it is delicious and pricey, it somehow to us doesn’t feel as fancy as steak! (but maybe that’s b/c we get it often. it’s a common kid request.)
      hmm, maybe now i’m wanting indian. which i know travels well!

  • Reply Mara February 12, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    How’s the book so far? I have had multiple people suggest it, so I bought it last night. Hope to dig in this weekend!

    Just finished “The Idea of You” good book if you want pure candy (with a little steaminess!).

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns February 12, 2021 at 5:53 pm

    This was our first year of sending valentines. I got ones with cute dinosaurs. One of the moms texted me and said it was the best valentine and their son has been playing with it all afternoon. So I am glad I sent along something kids will hopefully enjoy.

    I am hoping to continue to WFH 2-3 days/week after our office reopens. I love not commuting and am so productive at home. It sounds like I can WFH for all of 2021 and plan to do that. It’s going to be much easier to pump at home.

    We pretty much only order Indian take out. I can’t get on board with fancy take out as it doesn’t seem like it will travel well. We rarely had fancy meals out though so it’s not something we had regularly even pre pandemic. I do hope our favorite places survive, though, so we can go back.

  • Reply Donelle February 13, 2021 at 11:28 am

    I’m late to the game but I’ve definitely sampled several fancy restaurants in our area and it really depends on what you’re getting. Things that won’t reheat well like fish, breaded, and fried items should be avoided. But pasta and cold items do great! Takeout from new restaurants had been one of the few new pandemic experiences we’ve been able to do pretty easily. I’ve had lots of variation too. Some of the fancy restaurants take a lot of measures to make sure they’ll serve well, like separating out ingredients that get soggy and wrapping everything individually in foil to keep it warm. But others haven’t been as thoughtful about it.

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