Winter in Scotland this year has been especially cold, and we’ve been adapting our routine as the season has gone on and we trudge through the darkest months of the year.
Routines change with the seasons and we’ve found a good groove in the month of December and the beginning of January. On the days where none of us has work obligations or otherwise appointments to attend to (rare these days anyway), the day has naturally become divided into the following phases:
- Early mornings consisting of coffee, juice, reading, and cartoons after an obligatory walk with the dog, followed by something cooked for breakfast (like waffles!).
- Late mornings entails us all suiting up and heading out on a hike in a nearby field, interurban path, or former farmland for a solid hour or more outdoors. There is plenty to look at (our dog + other dogs + abundant wildlife = each walk is unpredictable) and play with (sticks + icy/muddy puddles = endless entertainment). These hikes are awesome.
- Afternoon is for napping, drawing, reading, and maybe playing some video games. The afternoon is spent inside. Late afternoon we clean up and/or do a little house DIY project together.
- Evening time is typically watching a movie, having a game of hide-and-seek in the house, or reading books before shuffling the kids to bed so that my wife and I can watch something or work on the puzzle we got for Christmas. Side note: working a puzzle has been really therapeutic and having a puzzle storage board so we can put it away out of the kid’s reach is key!
These days have been fantastic. Even on days when we can’t stick to this schedule, when obligations make it so that we can’t all be together and ease naturally through the day, the fact that we do on the other days makes it more likely that the same activities still happen as much as they can.
It feels normal to go out in the morning together. Everyone feels the lull in the afternoon together. The close (and required) proximity of the past year has compacted and gelled us together more and more. I wonder if this will increase the need for more separation later, like a big bang waiting to happen.
For now, though, spending this much time with the kids at this moment in their lives is something I’m trying to savor.