family screams, and life updates right now…

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i’m not sure who started it, but as we ended dinner together last night around our dining room table, we took turns screaming at the top of our lungs and screaming together. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” we vocalized,  some clenching fists and others closing their eyes as we roared together. again, and again. “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” it felt so good. (and i highly recommend it.)

how are you doing? how are you holding up?

yesterday afternoon, i circled the upper west side with madalena in the stroller trying to get her to fall asleep for a nap she desperately needed (the stroller is our method of a soothing pacifier, a white noise machine, a darkened bedroom all in one – it’s our way to get a baby to sleep in less than a minute when they don’t think they are tired but they are- i really can’t explain it beyond my babies being city babies and maybe the bugaboo stroller seat design being a gift from the gods, but i digress…). we went out, madalena fighting to keep her heavy eyelids lifted and me jiggling the stroller ever so slightly as we made our way down 72nd street. we passed shops, restaurants, the museum, book stores and cafes.  not much open, almost everything shut down. signs in doorways, some handwritten, some typed: “our dearest customers…. closed until further notice…. we love you…. stay safe….”   we walked the crosswalk that once bustled with bodies near the american museum of natural history, and we circled an empty playground where the sound of no children playing felt almost eerie.  we passed only a handful of people, staying the recommended six feet (or more) away as we practiced our part of new normal, social/physical distancing.

my heart sank. my eyes welled with tears. because so much is unknown, so much is at stake. and i want to be optimistic but my pessimistic side shows great strength in times like these. parts of me begin to fear, how will we ever recover? our communities, our neighborhoods, our cities, our world. josh and i go back and forth every hour about next steps for our family, as schools have closed around us until atleast april 20th, as work campaigns are cancelled and postponed, as we watch friends and neighbors pack up cars with supplies and leave the city. do we stay? do we go? and where would we even go if we go?

tucked in the stroller in front of me, i watch as madalena slowly gives in to the steady motion of the moving pram. i lean her stroller seat back so she lays flat, sleeping comfortably nuzzled inside the sleeping bag of her stroller muff.  i round the corner of our block to head back inside our apartment and catch the eye of a stranger in jogging attire at the nearest crosswalk. he lifts his hand in front of his chest to give a small motion of a wave while running along and calls out a hopeful, “hello! …stay strong!”, as he runs off. to be honest, i felt a bit defensive and bothered at first, like,  i am strong! you don’t know me!, but as i caught a tear falling down my cheek mid-thought, i wanted to call back, “thank you so much, you too!”

i took five deep breaths before hoisting my stroller up our apartment building steps, clinging to the small sliver of calm that had just run through my body and entered my head. a feeling that has come and gone intermittently over the course of the last week or so but has been stronger than ever when i feel the love and support from others, near and far, from a loved one and also from a stranger.  we are human, and together, we are strong, we are capable. we are resilient.

i’ve always appreciated how mr. rogers would say in times of distress, “look for the helpers. you will always find people who are helping,” and it’s been evident in our current situation, that helpers are helping and it’s what is healing us. thank you to the doctors, the medical staffs, the workers in grocery stores and pharmacies, the delivery crews and so many others, who are putting themselves at risk and are helping. thank you to the online community for rallying together and finding ways to show up for one another, from donating funds where needed to donating talents and skills and just feel-good loves and laughs. i have been a firm believer in the good of social media for a long time (when you follow the right accounts, social media is a really wonderful place), and i’m thankful for ways to feel connected and feel like family during a time like this when we can’t be together in person.

a lot of this is scary and unknown. don’t feel like you have to hold it together and be strong around the clock (might i suggest a simultaneous family scream session each night at dinner?!), but know we are strong together and we are in this together.

sending love and prayers and strength. i have a story highlight on my instagram  right now with lots of great activities tagged for kids, articles on how to talk about all of this with your little ones, some beautiful moments around the world shared, and ways to donate and help remotely, too. for example, i linked to the foodbank for new york city, where every $1 donated right now provides 5 meals. and please feel free to share more with everyone in the comments here and on my insta, too.

some photos from the last week or so below….

making some puffy stickers together! a moment of little arguing and team effort which was awesome because usually the little ones are just making a mess of what the big kids are trying to do and i have to keep them separated during these sorts of projects.

inside soccer, here we go! (ps- disclosure here because #HiInternet, but we are in a building full of families and friends, and are always mindful of our neighbors. and fortunately, the walls and floors muffle sound well. we’re all cool with it. i promise.)

right now, we have not been asked in the city to shelter in place, and while we have been staying inside our apartment away from friends, away from playgrounds and outside life as we understand the gravity of this crisis, i am linking a few articles here and here and here and here for you on getting outside if you can, because i agree with medical professionals (including our own pediatrician) and government officials who are recommending that having a few moments of fresh air and exercise each day in open spaces while social distancing is important for mental health and physical health and increasing immunity. we live just one block from central park, so (targeting off hours like before bed) we have been going to the big open spaces where it isn’t crowded or some more hidden spots to climb some trees and play on some big rocks. i do not know the protocol for all areas and i am not telling you to do this, but i do think you can stay informed, research what measures are best for you and your family and make plans accordingly while being flexible. for example, several days ago, we went to the park and it was too crowded, with no open spaces away from other people where we could get our exercise in, so we didn’t enter the park that day just to play it safe. it is SO important to distance ourselves physically right now from others, and we ALL must take that seriously. but you can still be outside for a few minutes if you remain away from others.

even if you can’t get out, doing any sort of exercise at home is so good for you right now. we’ve been doing PE with the kids, lots of jumping jacks and push ups and dancing to music inside with them. HERE is a little dance party video we made together. i recommend hosting a dance party at least once a day right now.

lots of movies and snuggles right now. pulled my computer from my desk to be our make-shift TV for a bit. we also pulled out the sofa bed for a while. it’s a par-tay! i talk more in this post about how i’ve been slow to subscribe to the idea of buckling down and trying to do all the workbooks and worksheets at home just yet. yes, a day with structure is important (having a written daily schedule they can look at has helped us a lot), but we’ve made our focus be on each other right now, trying to find ways to bring calm and feelings of security by reading books together, dancing, snuggling up & watching a lot of movies, facetiming friends from school (and family!) and cooking and baking together, too.

last week in anticipation of schools closing and our extra curricular activities being paused, i stocked up on a bunch of small craft projects for my older kids to do in the afternoons together. so far, the window art kit has been the favorite.

we all had a good laugh when conrad came into the kitchen dressed in beatrice’s baby bunting! i don’t even know how he got into it, but we needed the laugh (it was the first time we laughed all day and it was already past lunch!). thank you, conrad! it was much appreciated.

i tried to string some christmas lights around the kids crazy forts set up. was going for a cozy reading nook but they honestly have just been sitting on the sofa to read. ha!

when in doubt, give them a box! it’s the tried and true best toy on planet earth!

sending love and prayers, friends.

  1. Venita

    Awesome post, Naomi. It’s a very interesting and kind of unsettling time. You captured all the feels.

  2. Devon

    I want to tell you thank you for the authenticity you have brought to this World and will bring into the new one. Your light is bright. That voice reminding you to “stay strong” was a whisper from the heavens that you are needed. YOU are one of the “helpers.”

  3. Eli

    Lucky you that can enjoy some outdoor time… in Spain the situation is different, we are obliged to stay at home all day long. It’s been just a week , and it is so freaking hard with a toddler. Sending love and hope to your beautiful family from Spain

  4. Corina

    I love your happy corner of the internet! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and pictures. They always brighten my day. Wishing you guys health and happiness in the upcoming days!

  5. Kristin Bull

    You and you`re family is incredible. It is such a hard and confusing time, and I love your honesty. Agree so much about trying to get out of the house a little bit every day if you have the chance (of course staying away from others). Sunshine and fresh air is the best! :)

  6. Marina

    Hi, Naomi!! Thanks for sharing your fellings and tips. You’e doing a great job! Keep staying strong :)

  7. Rachel G

    Love and prayers from Alabama! Trying to stay sane while teleworking from home with a 3yo and a 5yo! :-D

  8. Veronica

    Thank you for this post! I’ve been following you since Conrad was born, my son is a little younger. Conrad in that suit made me so happy, he’s always been good for a laugh!

  9. This was a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing. We, too, are hunkered down in Washington state and feeling so much of what you said- fear for the unknown and hope for our collective future.

    Yours is a bright spot on the internet.
    Thanks for being that.

  10. Merel


  11. Erika

    thanks for this! and i loved seeing you stocked up on diet coke under the counter. SAME! haha.

  12. Rachel Gaetz

    I’ve been online way too much…reading every article that pops up about the virus and also trying to find online resources to keep our kids educated and happy while school is closed. I realized the one place I hadn’t visited in awhile was your blog. I’m not sure if I’ve commented and mentioned this before, but I’ve been reading since 2010! Your blog was an amazing source of positivity, beauty, and inspiration as I navigated becoming a mom in early 2011. Thank you for still providing a resource of positivity and hope during these uncharted and crazy times. Much love to your beautiful family! Stay safe!

  13. Jamie

    What a gorgeously written post. I’m praying for the best for your family and our world. A big virtual hug to you and a big thank you to the kind, lovely community you’ve built. It’s so important right now.

  14. Jude Ledger

    Hello from the UK

    All schools are closed here (except for children of key workers). A UK celebrity personal trainer who usually offers adult online exercise routines is going to be doing 30 minutes of PE for primary school children daily on YouTube at 9 am UK time. Look out for Joe Wicks the Bodycoach and spread the word. It may help keep us all fit and sane!

  15. Anke

    Hello Naomi,

    best wishes from germany! And everything will be ok in a while.
    think optimistic :)
    I do too in germany. We stay at home to stop the virus.
    Life slowed down here . Less hectic, less consumption (except toilette paper ;-) ) Maybe this is a good time to think about what is really important and necessary in life.
    Read a good book, have time for your (indoor) Hobbys and your nearest family.

    Anke :-) (who normaly never writes comments anywhere)

  16. Abby

    Gorgeous photos. Sending love and prayers to all of you as well- thanks for being such a light and spreading joy with your beautiful family!


  17. Allison

    Hello from CA! We are “locked up” in our home too…lots of walks happening here. What’s happening to small businesses is destroying me-my cousin’s friend had an amazing bar b q place and they just opened a restaurant (after having a food truck) but they are now closed and it doesn’t look like they can open. It’s so sad to think about people’s lives being destroyed and now the Olympics are postponed.
    Sending love and hugs to the whole family! Stay safe (and sane) :)


  18. Steph

    Now would be out of the ordinary for us regardless of the pandemic because my wife gave birth to a baby 10 days ago. The exhausting nature of the newborn days has been a good distraction from the world. And we would have been hibernating right now anyway, albeit with a bit more help from nearby family who are now not allowed over. I limit media consumption. My 4 year old gets an hour of TV in the morning and an hour in the late afternoon before dinner. We take family walks where my son rides his scooter. We have a small backyard and are grateful to live in a place that isn’t yet requiring us to stay literally indoors.
    I tend to be a pessimist so my MO right now is to assume this will go on for months, in the quiet, unconscious hope that I might be pleasantly surprised in late April. Here’s hoping. Thanks for sharing, Naomi <3

  19. Susanna

    Thank you, Naomi, for telling us about your “corona madness”.
    I’m from Germany, schools are closed for two weeks now, all shops, restaurants, public places shut down, except grocery stores and pharmacies. We’re allowed to go for a walk, but only with one other person or the family members you’re living with.
    Last year I overcame a severe illness. My husband surprised me with a trip to NYC which should have happened this May. I dreamed of travelling to NYC since I was 16 years old. Hope we can reschedule the trip, maybe to autumn.
    Sending love and light to you and your family.

  20. Sally W

    The eerie silence everywhere has been getting to me as well on my short walks around the neighbourhood. But the people I do see are friendly and much more willing to make eye contact and say hello than normal (I live in Vancouver where we are notorious for not doing this!). It is one of the few things I hope remains when everything goes back to “normal”.

    I run a book subscription box for 8-12-year-olds and I would love to send you one (or a few). I really don’t want this to come across as a sales pitch, I just know that Eleanor is becoming a major bookworm and they are full of fun things to do inside that I think your whole crew may enjoy. I know there is a lot of indoor time to fill these days.

    Thank you for continuing to post amidst the chaos! Keep staying strong :)