It's me Katrina.
I did a little blog post for Kingsway Malls "Happy at Home" feature and it felt so good to share! I thought, hey what the heck...may as well share it here too.
If you don't already know, we are lucky enough to call Kingsway Mall home to one of our store locations, but of course with the COVID-19 pandemic, our storefronts have been closed for just over 6 weeks. WOW! Six weeks already.
For many of you, I’m sure you’re using this time at home to catch up on some good shows, read, maybe organize your home. Consider me jealous! I mean I have been catching up on some shows like Paw Patrol, Shaun the Sheep and Power Rangers!
For the other half of you out there, you likely have kids like me, and are now living a life as if you are in that Groundhog Day movie!
Although all three of our store locations are closed, within the first week of this pandemic, I realized that things weren’t going back to “normal” any time soon and came to the conclusion that for the business to ensue this weird time, we needed to pivot and pivot we did! Within a couple short weeks, myself and the remaining 2 employees I have working with me (Katie and Treena), managed to set up a full blown online store. It was a whirlwind but we did it and the support we’ve received is amazing! THANK YOU everyone! But seriously, Thank you so much. I have no clue where we would be right now if it wasn't for all of you that have shown up for us and maybe purchased something (big or small) or even just took time out of your day to send me a message filled with gratitude and positivity! It really means the world to us!
Starting from scratch building an online store is no easy feat. It meant a lot of learning, experimenting and lots of time. Time which for me was limited, as I am now trying to entertain two small kids AND work full time. I love my boys, but they are busy! Working from home is not new to me, but I am used to visiting the stores daily, running product and supplies around and having meetings with staff. But now, my days all blend together, I work mostly at night when everyone is asleep and I have a new found obsession with matching sweat suits!
So what does my “new normal” look like?
We start our days pretty slow. That’s the nice thing about not having to go anywhere. We have breakfast, watch some morning cartoons, get dressed and lately, get outside! This weather has been a game changer for me. It has been so nice to just hang out on my deck, drinking coffee (lots of coffee), check emails and let my kids burn off some morning energy.
We’re lucky because we have a back yard with a bunch of fun stuff for the boys to do. Between the swings, slide, sandbox, water table, play house and more, they are pretty occupied for at least 15 mins! Haha. I joke, but my kids can jump from one thing to the next so fast its hard to keep them busy for more than a few sips of my coffee. So, when they are playing nice, I take that time to do whatever work might be urgent, or do my dishes and tidy up. I don’t know about you guys but I always find that a tidy house keeps my stress levels down!
If we aren’t outside playing, we are inside doing puzzles and crafting. My kids love to craft. I basically forced them into loving it. (Sorry, not sorry) We paint, colour, build things with clay and play doh, cut and glue….you name it, we’ve done it. Right now we have been beading fun bracelets to send to the boys friends. If you’re looking for a great, kid friendly beading kit, we have some on the website here: https://www.themakerskeep.com/product-page/little-fingers-jewellery-making-kit-tmk-collection and here: https://www.themakerskeep.com/product-page/the-cheerful-jewellery-making-kit-1-tmk-collection
Lego is also a staple toy around here. They boys love Lego Duplo because they can actually do it together and it is so fun watching their imaginations run wild! Something I’ve learnt from watching my boys play is how inventive and creative they are. I have made a point to really play with them and it is so eye opening. Kids are friggen cool! Haha. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my children with every ounce of my being but spending true, quality time with them has been enlightening!
After an exhaustive amount of activities, we’ll have some lunch. My kids aren’t picky but my go-to lunch for them is basically crackers and cheese, pepperoni sticks, apple slices and peanut butter and some kind of “treat”. Its usually a bear paw. What is up with those things….seriously though?!? Do your kids go bananas over them?
If I’m lucky, Arlow my youngest will go down for a nap and Zavier and I will sit and read, do some learning games/activities and then he gets some screen time. Yes, I totally let my kids have screen time. I don’t know what I would do without it. It has saved my sanity so many times and I am not ashamed to admit it. But with that said, I really try to limit their use so they don’t fry their brains! haha
I might get a little work in there during all this, but probably not. I’ll probably do some laundry to be honest.
After nap/rest time, we will get back outside and go for a walk or ride bikes. We live in a cul-da-sac so the boys can just ride out front safety. It also makes for a huge canvas for chalk art! This week was Zavier’s 5th Birthday so we decorated the whole road!
I should note that during all this time, I have probably been on my phone with either Katie or Treena about something work related a few times by now. I put them on speaker phone and keep doing what I’m doing. I’ve become a really great multi-tasker and they’ve gotten used to the screams, giggles and noise in the background!
Something the boys have been doing almost daily since we went into “lock down” is building forts. Oh man do they love a good fort. We have made them in almost every room of my house. Big ones to small ones, I guarantee you at the end of every day, I am folding up blankets and sheets just so they can do it again the next day.
Around dinner time is when my hubby gets home. I forgot to mention that I am not doing all this completely alone! My amazing and supportive husband Dave is still working which is great, but when he gets home from work, I usually disappear to go get some work done myself. We try to eat dinner every night as a family and then I either head to my office for a night of emails and such or I go make my rounds to the stores. When I do rounds, I will go gather up products for orders, package orders and get everything ready for delivery. With the help of Katie and Treena, we have found a good rhythm and can all work along side one another without actually being in the same room. We have lots of Zoom chats but its working well!
Once everything is packed up and ready, I do my contactless deliveries the following day. This is where it gets fun! I pack lunches, snacks, drinks, movies, toys, a little potty and a change of clothes (because you never know) and the boys and I load up my mini van (yes, I drive a mom van and I love it) and we head out for a day of delivering orders! I don’t want to jinx it, but my kids have been so great on these days. I come prepared with all their favourite stuff and we make it a fun adventure! *I should note that I am the only one that gets out of the van to drop of packages. I don’t come into contact with anyone and I wear all the appropriate PPE. When my kids need a break, we find a safe spot to get out, stretch, and go for a little walk.
These days are on repeat. This has been my new normal for the past 6 weeks. Its weird. Its hard but its also kind of amazing. I get to spend more time with my kids, which if I’m being honest was something I wasn’t prioritizing. That might make me look like a bad mom, but I think I was just so caught up in my work that I was a bit lost. I have learnt so much about myself in a short time. Like for one, I am okay with the homebody life. Don’t get me wrong, I miss a lot of people, places and things but I am genuinely enjoying my time at home with my weird and wonderful family!
I hope you all are staying safe and healthy and doing what’s best for everyone by staying home. To all the Frontline Hero’s out there, THANK YOU! You are amazing humans and we are all in awe of your continued dedication.
Thanks for reading and remember, we are in this together!
Sending you love and light