Wednesday, April 28, 2021

100 years later

You know it's been a minute since you blogged when you go to your blog and then stare at the screen (and the most recent post, from 1.5 years ago) for five minutes trying to figure out what to do to start a new post. Ha. Am I 400 years old, or is it that after faithfully blogging for what felt like a lonnnnng time, I've well and truly forgotten how to do it?! I'll let you decide that one. Also, let it be noted that being out of the habit of blogging does NOT mean I've forgotten the thrill of receiving blog comments. Shout out to the filthy comment-bots that find a 9 year old post every now and then and helpfully leave garbled comments with hot tips about products that can increase my "manhood" and/or make me rich if only I click this link!! I ain't clicking, but I do appreciate y'all thinking of me and finding some ancient story about my deep thoughts on that day's lunch and gym exploits fascinating and worthy of your robot-time. 

At any rate, it's turned out to be a slow afternoon, so I was digging deep and trying to remember what I used to do during slow afternoons, and here we are. I highly doubt anyone is anxiously awaiting a Life Update from me, but just in case- why not. (The girls in my Zoom book club, affectionately known as Blog Friends Book Club, since we all met via blogging, regularly harass me about not-blogging, but even they do not need this update, since our monthly meetings + Instagram keep them in the know. But I digress.)

Well, since the last time we spoke here in August 2019, there was a pesky global pandemic that made life quite...interesting. (I'm going for positivity here.) So nothing about the last year+ has been normal for my family, as I know applies to everyone...just need to write it down though, so that the NEXT time I blog (appx 2025, if trends hold) I will remember the context of this year. Because I'm sure otherwise I would never remember what a very special, special time 2020-2021 was. Mmmhmm.


Yep, still plural there. Still can only show you pictures of one of 'em, though. As you may recall, we because foster parents in June 2019. We were quickly placed with twin girlies, who stayed with us for five wonderful and chaotic and lovely and tear-filled months. We said goodbye to them right before the holidays, and took a little over a month off to breathe and focus on our family of 3. In January of 2020, though, we said yes to our next placement, and welcomed the absolutely cutest, sweetest baby girl ever (or since Millie was a baby, obviously) into our home. We expected her to stay for a short time, maybe a few weeks, but you will all be utterly shocked to learn that she is still with us...and we hope this will be the case for, oh, ya know, forever. Fingers crossed and that's all I can say, but keep checking back and maybe in a few months or 5 years I will update again and be able to share pictures. :)

But Millie (or Camilla, as she prefers anyone not family to call her) is doing great! She's 6.5, almost done with first grade, and nothing but personality and opinions. She adores being a big sissy, though she is going to adore it more when little sis can PLAY ACCORDING TO HER EVER-CHANGING RULES. Yes, Millie is in the stage where she likes to micromanage every single aspect of play (thus sucking all potential fun out of it, if you're me)..."OK, now you take the baby and say '_____' and now you go over there and sit down and do ____" and OKAY BUT CAN I NOT PLEASE JUST MAKE A FEW OF MY OWN CHOICES AS WE PLAY HOUSE?!?! Sheesh. Anyway, I too am anxiously awaiting the day baby sis can be bossed around in play so that I can go water the plants or something. For the love.

One thing the whole family can agree on, though? Our favorite family TV show- Naked & Afraid. Haaa. But for real, we watch it together all the time, and this guides most of our outdoor adventures as well. We go on lottttssss of walks around town (shoutout to the #1 and only entertainment option of 2020!!!) and on some trails in the woods nearby, and we have all learned so much from watching that show, we spend our time discussing the best place to make shelters, whether water looks potable or not, and pondering what kinds of predators might be after us in any given place. And then we walk home and enjoy eating and sleeping in our nice, air conditioned home. It's really the best of all worlds, since the Bates fam has no desire to ACTUALLY camp or experience nature too much. So there's your hot parenting tip for today (slash this year and probably next year too)-- a show the whole family can enjoy and learn from!

Exhibit A: a bamboo forest near our home that had a lot of shelter-building potential, and MAYBE even some panda bear potential!

Since we pretty much spent the last year at home (we're the mask-wearing, scientific-advice-following, err on the side of caution type folks), we've had lots of time together as a family and are happy to report that we still like one another. And more importantly, Matt and I both ended up buying adult scooters, and with the baby on one of our backs in an Ergo, we take many "family scoot-scoots" around town and are well-acquainted with basically every human, dog, cat, flowering bush, and holiday decoration within a two mile radius of our house.

We ventured off our street for spring break and made our way down to a house on an empty beach on Cape San Blas and it was a delight. But the water was freezing.

Matt & Erika ( could say...Matt y Erika...see what I did there?)

Matt and I both worked from home beginning in March of last year. Matt is still working from home, and will be permanently, as it was apparently a big hit with his company. I started phasing back into my office in January with a hybrid WFH/work at office schedule, and have been full time back in the office since the beginning of April. I truly loved working from home, and even enjoyed the extremely chaotic double dip of working from home full-time while managing Millie's digital learning for the fall semester. We sent her back to in-person school in January, when my office's patience with me being home all the time ran out, haha. She is doing great at school, but I so miss getting to see her throughout the day. Kids, man. 

But MOST excitingly....

Matt and I are now both double vaxxed, post-two-weeks, and SO EXCITED! We celebrated by re-joining the YMCA last week, which is great, but not as great as my REAL "congrats on surviving being stuck at home for a year with your very loud children" present to myself, which is a very fancy (by Athens standards) and long-awaited mani/pedi with allll the extras. It's been a LONG TIME (since March 13, 2020, actually, as the first thing my coworker and I did when we got sent home from the office "for two weeks" was stop and get our nails done in case we wouldn't be able to do it again for *gasp* like a whole month or something. OH TO BE SO YOUNG AND INNOCENT.) and I am VERY excited. (Sure, nail salons have been re-opened for a long time here, but spending any unnecessary time indoors in public places is not a thing I have been willing to do until I was fully vaxxed, so NOW IS THE TIME!) I am...perhaps overly excited. It's fine. Just give it to me.

I am so thankful that relatively speaking, the last year has been bad only in a stress and inconvenience sort of way. Though many of our family members and friends got the virus, no one close to us passed away, and I am deeply thankful for that and aware that it certainly is not everyone's situation. As someone who during a "normal" year has a 9-5, lives half an hour out of town, has kids and millions of foster care-related appointments, and is fairly introverted, I don't generally have a busy social life or a group of friends I see regularly (beyond work friends and church friends). By far the best part the last year has been the close friendships I've developed with a group of girls that started with our Bachelor group text (remember how Pilot Pete's season ended JUST as the world shut down?!?!) and just kinda...never stopped. Those girls (a subset of my real-life book club-- ya know, the Bach-watching contingent of the club, haha) were my constant text companions and eventually real-life companions, too, as we started gathering masked-up around someone's fire pit for long conversations after our kids all went to bed. I imagine my feelings for them are something like what soldiers might feel for the people they went to war with. But those ladies were a life-saver this past year, and the joy we've shared as we've slowly all gotten ourselves (and our partners) vaccinated is just...priceless. I cannot wait to sit INSIDE THEIR ACTUAL HOUSES very soon and drink my margaritas WITHOUT A MASK IN MY WAY!!

I guess that sums up the last year-ish, pretty much. I should note that we had to say goodbye to sweet Lola, our beloved doggie, in February 2020 (thanks a lot, 2020). We missed her greatly those first few months of being home all the time, and know she would have been so happy to have her people home all of the time. Thankfully, we welcomed a new furry friend into our home in August, and Lucy is the sweetest little blond ragamuffin dog. She's definitely the girls' favorite member of the family, and our house is just a lot happier with a dog running around in it. 

As school wraps up and the hot weather rolls in, we look forward to more walks, more Naked & Afraid marathons, more time with friends, more time working out (hahahahaa...I mean, yes, but am I actually looking FORWARD to it? Debatable), and less time scrubbing makeup off the inside of masks (THE WORST, why do I even bother with makeup, honestly?). More importantly, I look forward to hopefully someday soon telling Millie she's gonna get to be a big sissy forever...that all of her dandelion wishes have paid off (it's legit what she wishes for, every time).

Until next time, friends.



  1. Aaaaaahhhhh -- a blog from Erika! The excitement is real!!! And BFBC got a shout out! By far the best news it that Millie (excuse me, Camilla) might be a forever big sissy soon!!! And clearly we need to check out Naked & Afraid. It sounds... interesting :)

  2. This was an ABSOLUTE DELIGHT, and I am beyond thrilled that my persistence (you call it harassments, I do not) paid off! Let's do this weekly? Monthly? I refuse to go further out than that! So fun to see BFBC get a shout out and am so excited to hear when Camilla is a big sister!!!

  3. Awww - so fun! I've been following your blog for a long long long time, haha. And do follow you on instagram too, but so nice to read a real blog again!!

  4. So, so, SO lovely to hear from you!!! I've missed following you on the 'gram (do people even call it that? Doubtful. But I'll run with it anyway.) Glad to read that all is well in your world and that "normal" life as you once knew it is slowly starting to resurface again. Maybe one day soon we could meet up together for a margarita! Cheers to that! Sending a BIG hug (don't worry, I'm now vaccinated too!) to you, Matt, Millie, Baby Girl, and Lucy!

  5. Boy howdy did I do a double take when this popped up in my reading list!!!

  6. This is my "catch up on blogposts" day! First of all, I had quite a chuckle at the "We are scientific-advice-following people"; I'm so glad you are on science's side too and are fully vaccinated. :) I love that a group text got you through the pandemic because I feel the same. A group text with my pool group also got me through the pandemic and that's an invaluable friendship. :)

  7. What a great surprise to see your post. I have followed you forever and may never have posted a comment. Always scared to make a spelling mistake. :) You have a beautiful family.


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